Moussaka is like an unctious Greek lasagne with layers of eggplant, meat, and bechamel sauce. It is something my Mum would cook for us when I was little and I have fond memories of scoffing this tasty, hearty meal on cold winter evenings in the UK. This particular recipe has been given the leftovers treatment, with a non-traditional addition of potato to make it go that little bit further.
Prep Time: 1 hour max
2 small potatoes
1 tin crushed tomatoes
250g lamb mince (because supermarket mince often comes in 500g servings, I use half and freeze half to save money.)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp dried oregano
2 large garlic cloves
150ml red wine
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper
60g plain flour*
600 ml milk
1/2 cup strong cheese – half Parmesan and half Cheddar works really well
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Slice eggplant into 1cm thick pieces and season with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with olive oil and grill on both sides until they begin to colour (about 10 minutes).
While the eggplant is grilling heat a little olive oil in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Roughly dice the onion and fry until soft. You don’t want the onions to caramelise, but instead be soft and sweet. Next, add in the lamb mince, cinnamon, salt and pepper and fry until the mince is cooked, making sure it is broken down well with no large chunks. Add in the garlic (finely chopped or crushed) for the last few minutes of frying.
Eggplants should be cooked at this point. Remove from the grill and set aside.
Next, add in the cubed potato, tomatoes, red wine and oregano, and again check the seasoning. Allow this to reduce for about 20-30 minutes over a medium-low heat, or until the sauce has come together.
In a medium sized oven dish or oven-safe frying pan, arrange a layer of the grilled eggplant on the bottom, followed by the mince mixture, and finally another layer of eggplant. Set aside while you make the bechamel.
To make bechamel sauce heat the milk to scalding point and set aside. In a separate saucepan melt the butter. Next add the flour to the butter and stir constantly until you have a smooth golden paste. Then gradually add in the milk and stir/whisk constantly until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add in cheese and stir until melted. Pour your bechamel over the eggplant and mince mixture. Finally, top with a little grated cheese.
Place under the grill until the cheese has turned golden and a little bit crispy.
Serve with crisp buttery lettuce or broccolini.
Any scraps of leftover vegetables can be added to the lamb mixture – carrot, capsicum, peas?
Beef mince instead of lamb works really well too, although leave out the cinnamon if you are going to do this.
*It is possible to substitute the plain flour for cornflour if you are gluten intolerant.