Moussaka is one of my favourite meals ever. I first tried it on Exmouth Market when I used to work nearby. There was this one stall who sold an incredible one for £5 with rice and salad. I think I ate it at least twice a week for months! Since then, I’ll always order moussaka if it’s on the menu. This was the first time I cooked it myself. I referenced a couple of different recipes and sort of picked the bits I thought would work well to make this one. It did turn out really well and bloody tasty so I thought I’d share!
Just a note… this is not a quick meal to make. It took me between 2-3 hours in total before we ate it!
This does make enough for 4-5 generous portions though so you could save it for another day. It’s a Sunday cooking adventure, if you will.
What you need:
For the delicious insides:
2 large aubergines, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
500g minced lamb
250g tomato passata
150ml red wine
Salt & pepper
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
For the bechamel topping:
500ml whole milk
60g plain flour
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
2 eggs, beaten
A sprinkle of nutmeg
1. Heat your oven to 180°c degrees, place your aubergines sliced into 0.5/1cm slices onto a baking tray with a bit of olive oil and salt over them. (You can pile them up, but make sure a tiny bit of oil is between each layer!). Bake for around 20-30 mins until soft and golden.
2. While the aubergine is cookin’, oil a large pan and cook your onion and garlic, season with the cinnamon and oregano. Add your lamb mince and cook it through making sure it’s brown. Once the lamb is cooked through add your passata and red wine, add a little of your parsley and some salt and pepper to taste. Cook for around 30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
3. Go make yourself a cuppa while your meat base is cooking, then in the last 10 mins, make your bechamel sauce. Heat up your milk in a pan, but do not boil. Melt your butter in another pan and stir in your plain flour. Make sure you use a whisk! That’s my tip for making the perfect bechamel sauce, as it helps it stay smooth. Add the milk in little bits and whisk as you go along until it thickens and is smooth. Once all your milk is in, add your grated Parmesan and stir until smooth. Take off the heat, cool slightly, then add your beaten eggs. Whisk until smooth. Sprinkle in a bit of your nutmeg. If you’re a big nutmeg fan feel free to add a bit more, personally I find it a bit overpowering so didn’t put too much in!
4. Arrange a layer of your cooked aubergines in the bottom of a large baking dish, pour in your lamb mixture and then place some more aubergines on top. To finish, pour on your bechamel sauce. Place in the oven at 180°c and cook for about 45 minutes until the top is brown.
Serve with white rice and a side of salad if you fancy. Tomatoes would go well too :)
Hopefully you’re as much of a fan of moussaka as me!