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Friday, 23 November 2012


After an abundance of Thai food lately, I thought I would venture to another country, Greece ! I had some lamb mince and some beautiful glossy eggplants and decided to cook a moussaka, a dish I haven't done for years ! We had forgotten how delicious and family friendly this simple dish is, and even better the next day.
You can use beef mince if you want, but for me it is not the same. The lamb makes it a little sweet and is more authentic. I served it with a Greek style salad, mixed leaves with shavings of fine red onion and some big juicy kalamata olives and slices of cucumber. Toss a little feta on top to finish.

1 kilo lamb mince
2 large potatoes
2 eggplants or one large
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic crushed
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped
2 cups tomato passata,
1 tin tomatoes
1 cup white wine
Rylstone olive oil
salt and pepper

60 grams butter
60 grams plain flour
2 -  2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup  grated parmesan or romano cheese
pinch of nutmeg

Slice the eggplant in long thin slices and lay on a paper towel and salt. Set aside for half an hour. Peel and thinly slice the potato. Cover the potato in water to stop it discolouring.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic. Add the lamb mince and cook until browned. Add the tomato, cinnamon, oregano, parsley, white wine and salt and pepper. Simmer for about half an hour. This step can be done well ahead, even the day before.
Pat the eggplant dry with paper towel and heat a good amount of olive oil in a fry pan. Fry the eggplant slices until cooked and drain on fresh paper towel. Eggplant does soak up quite a bit of oil, so make sure the oil is hot before placing the eggplant into it.
Fry the thin potato slices in the same pan and set aside.

To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the plain flour to make a roux. Warm the milk slightly in the microwave and add slowly to the roux beating continually to stop any lumps forming. If you don't heat the milk, remove the roux from the heat and add the milk when the saucepan has cooled a little. When the sauce is thick and creamy add the cheese and nutmeg beating into the mixture to combine. The bechamel should be quite thick.

Use approx a 2 litre baking dish. Layer half the eggplant on the bottom, overlapping if necessary.
Next layer the potatoes and half the mince. Press the mince down a little with the back of the spoon.
Add the rest of the eggplant in a layer, then the remaining mince. Again press down with the back of the spoon. Finally add the bechamel. It should come to the top of the dish.

Cook for 45 minutes in a 175C oven. You may want to place it on a flat oven tray to catch any spills
as it will bubble over. Enjoy !

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