Moussaka (approx. for four) with Jukes 2:
Ingredients - Moussaka
2 medium Aubergines
4-5 medium Potatoes - a good all-rounder like Maris Piper, peeled and thinly sliced
400g Lamb mince
350-400g Tomato passata
1 large white Onion, finely chopped
2 large Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Bay leaf
1 teaspoon of dried Oregano
1 teaspoon of ground Cinnamon
15g fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1 glass of dry White wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Ingredients - Béchamel sauce
40g unsalted Butter
40g plain Flour
600ml whole Milk
1 egg, whisked
Method – I must thank my sister-in-law, Emily, for this delicious recipe. While it requires quite a long preparation time it is worth it, I promise. Do consider doubling the quantities so you can freeze one Moussaka for later.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Slice the aubergine into 5mm thick rounds and place them in a bowl. Pour in one tablespoon of olive oil, a few pinches of salt and pepper and mix it all up with your hands so all of the slices of aubergine are covered. Lay the aubergine slices out on two lined baking trays and bake for 30 mins.
In a heavy-based pot, gently fry the onion, oregano and bay leaf until the onion is soft. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon and parsley and fry gently for a couple of minutes and then add the lamb mince. Brown the mince (keep stirring it gently until there are no uncooked pieces left) over a high heat and then season well with salt and pepper. Pour in the white wine and, once it has bubbled away, add the passata and turn the temperature right down and let it simmer for about 40 minutes. You can keep it simmering while you prepare everything else, but do keep an eye on it and if it gets too dry top it up with more passata. While it is cooking you can prepare the potatoes and lastly the béchamel.
Fry the potatoes in a small drizzle of olive oil for a few minutes each over a high heat so they start to turn golden. Try to use the olive oil sparingly so the potatoes are not too oily. This will need to be done in a few batches. Once they are cooked, place them in a colander lined with kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil.
Next, melt the butter in a saucepan and once it is frothing add the flour and stir together quickly. Then add the milk in small pours, slowly, and keep stirring all of the time. About half-way through, add the bay leaf and a very healthy grating of nutmeg - you want it quite strong. Season well with salt and pepper and once all of the milk has been absorbed and you have a thick creamy, sauce, fish out the bay leaf and quickly beat in the egg.
Now assemble everything in a dish (23 – 25cm) by placing a layer of potatoes at the bottom, followed by a layer of mince, then aubergine and then repeat. Finally, pour the béchamel over the top and bake it in the oven for about 30 minutes until the top has puffed up and looks golden. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley over the top.