A good Moussaka is a thing of wonder. It’s spicy, sweet mince and luscious creamy topping is always a crowd pleaser and it is a perfect dish for a family celebration or special supper.

The traditional recipe for Moussaka can be quite complicated so we have taken any unnecessary palaver out of its creation and used a few little sneaky short cuts. Not only is this a much quicker recipe to make than the original but it is also much healthier. Always a good thing we are sure you will agree. It involves a little bit of multitasking or if you prefer you can do each stage separately. It also creates a bit of washing up but if you check out Miss Manners this month, this can be covered.

This is delicious served with a simple green salad or a traditional greek salad of tomatoes, olives, cucumber, red onions and Feta cheese.

We hope you enjoy it!

What You Need

This serves approx 6-8 and takes about 1 hour.

For the Mince

  • a couple of tablespoons of olive oil
  • 350g Lamb Mince
  • 350g Beef Mince
  • Large Onion, diced (or frozen diced onions for speed)
  • Garlic clove, crushed
  • 11/2 teaspoon of cumin]
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • A cup of red wine
  • A squeeze of tomato puree
  • 2 x tins of crushed tomatoes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Layers

  • 2 aubergines, sliced
  • 4 large potatoes, sliced

For the Bechemal Sauce

  • 100g of butter
  • x of flour
  • 400ml of milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • A large handful of Parmesan, grated
  • A sprinkle of Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced generously

Instead of frying the aubergine and potato which is the traditional way, bake them whilst you are cooking the mince both saving time and calories. Always a good thing.

What to Do

Preparing the Vegetables.

  1. Firstly Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Cut your potatoes and Aubergines into approx 1cm thick slices.
  3. Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season.
  4. Put the Aubergines on another lined baking sheet and again, drizzle with olive oil and season.
  5. Pop them in the oven for approx 15-20 minutes whilst you prepare the mince.
  6. After 15-20 minutes take your aubergines out of the oven.
  7. Turn them to ensure they are baked on both sides and pop them back in the oven for 5 minutes
  8. Turn your potato slices over and season. Put them back in the oven for approx another 10 minutes.

Making the Mince

  1. In a large pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add the mince until browned.
  2. Add the garlic, and diced onion and cook until the onion is soft.
  3. Stir in the cumin and add the cinnamon stick and additional cinnamon if using.
  4. Pour in the red wine, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and stir.
  5. Leave the mince to simmer.
  6. Occasionally stir your mince to make sure it doesn’t stick and that it is cooking evenly. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes on a slow simmer until the juices have evaporated and the sauce is thick and shiny.

Making the Béchamel Sauce

  1. Melt the butter on a low heat.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour and stir continuously until it binds together. Continue to stir and cook for a another minute.
  3. Add the milk a little at a time, combining each stage to prevent lumps. Initially it will feel quite thick but as you add the milk it will thicken up into a lovely white sauce.
  4. When thick, remove from the heat and add the egg yolk, nutmeg and cheese. Mix together quickly until combined.

 

Assembly

  1. Layer the aubergine in the bottom of a large baking dish.
  2. Pour over 1/2 of the meat sauce and carefully spread to the sides.
  3. Add another layer of aubergine and then the potato slices.
  4. Add the remainder of the meat sauce.
  5. Top with the béchamel sauce and smooth out to cover all the meat.
  6. Sprinkle with a mixture of grated cheese pop a slice of cut tomato into each portion.
  7. Bake for an hour until the crust is golden brown.

If you like this you will like our Butternut Squash and Goat’s Cheese Risotto.