We found some lovely eggplants ,or aubergines as they call them here in Australia, at the market and bought so many that we had to get rid of them before they ‘went off’ as Aussies say. We couldn’t think of a better way than in a tasty moussaka! This recipe was in one of my boyfriend’s mum’s old fashioned cookbooks called Day to Day Cookery for Home Craft Students. There’s a handwritten note on the recipe for moussaka saying “Approved by Maria!!!”, who I found out was Greek, so I knew it would be tasty.
We combined this recipe with another so I’ve provided the hybrid that we concocted. The eggplant and lamb is from the Day to Day Cookery book and the bechamel sauce is from Cooks Illustrated Editor’s Choice Cookbook Collection, which can be access through their website http://www.cooksillustrated.com for a yearly fee.
- 2 medium eggplants (aubergines)
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 1 1lb ground lamb
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 peeled sliced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup dry red wine or stock
- 1/4 lb tomato puree
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
Slide unpeeled eggplants and fry in hot oil for 2 minutes on each side. Arrange slices in shallow oven proof dish.
Fry lamb mince in oil in pan until the fat has rendered and the lamb is no longer pink. Stir constantly. Drain the lamb, reserving the drippings.
Cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the lamb drippings until softened.
Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, garlic, sugar, and cinnamon and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in the lamb, tomatoes, tomato puree, and wine (or stock) and simmer on low until the sauce has thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
When all liquid is absorbed place on top of eggplant.
For a thick bechamel sauce that will sit on top of the eggplant and meat but wont drip through, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and stir, for about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until the sauce thickens and no longer tastes of flour, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, whisk in the parmesan and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste; cover and set aside.
Pour over top of meat, sprinkle with cheese (we used crumbled feta) and bake in a 180C degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes until sauce sets and becomes golden brown.