Moussaka

I made this on Wednesday morning so that Alberto and I could have it in the evening after my late night. I know that I’ve made moussaka before, and blogged about it, but this recipe comes from the Greek Islands cookbook that Alberto got me for Christmas and so is a bit more authentic than the recipes I might’ve used before.

It’s fairly easy to make but involves a fair few steps that were a bit more time consuming than I’d initially anticipated but it is certainly worth the effort as the end result is delicious and very filling. And fairly authentically Greek!

For the béchamel sauce:

60g of butter
60g of plain flour
800ml of hot milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
20g of grated pecorino or parmiggiano
1 egg, beaten

For the filling:

2 large aubergines
400g of waxy potatoes
Olive oil
500g of lamb mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon of tomato purée
160ml of red wine
200g of passata
1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley leaves
½ a teaspoon of dried Greek oregano
A little cheddar to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200

Slice the aubergines into rounds 5mm thick, then place them in a colander, scatter with salt and leave to drain for 10 minutes. (This draws out the bitter tasting juices from the aubergine)

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and slice them into rounds of the same thickness as the aubergine slices. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion slices until lightly coloured. Remove from the frying pan, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

Brush a large baking tray with olive oil. Dry the aubergine slices with kitchen paper and then place them on the baking tray. Brush the slices with olive oil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn after 15 minute and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until starting to brown.

In a large saucepan heat some olive oil and brown the mince, stirring until it’s all separated.

Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook over a gentle heat, for 5-10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and tomato purée and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

Return the meat to the pan and add the wine. Allow to bubble for a couple of minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any stuck bits.

After a couple of minutes add the passata and herbs, then 200ml of water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

Oil a large ovenproof dish and line it with the potato slices. Pour over the meat sauce and then top with the cooked aubergine slices.

Then make the béchamel sauce.

Melt the butter over a low heat and then add the flour. Mix and cook gently for 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the hot milk , little by little stirring as you go to avoid lumpiness.

Cook for 10 minutes, on a low heat, until the sauce becomes thick and glossy.

Season with salt and pepper and then add the nutmeg and stir in the grated cheese.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then slowly pour in the beaten egg, whisking vigorously. (The sauce needs to be slightly cooled or the egg will scramble as you pour it in.)

Pour the cooked sauce over the top of the aubergines, grate a little cheddar on the top and then bake in the oven for 55 minutes.

Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving – otherwise it will fall apart a bit upon serving.

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About neilche

Hi. My name's Neil. I live in Brighton with my flatmate Alberto and I work as a Librarian at a local college. I like cooking, eating and socialising with friends. Which is what prompted me to start this blog. I cycle everywhere around town - it helps to work off the calories!
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