With the summer holidays in our midst, transport yourself to the Aegean with this classic recipe from Lemonia. It can be prepared family-style using a 15” x 10”ovenproof dish, or in smaller dishes for individual portions.
Ingredients (serves 6–8)
- 2–3 medium aubergines
- 2–3 medium courgettes
- 2 medium potatoes
- Olive oil for frying
- 1 lb lean lamb mince
- 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
- ½ cup wine
- Small bunch of dill, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Salt and pepper
- 6 tbsp butter
- 6 tbsp plain flour
- 3½ cups cold milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup good quality hard cheese, grated
- Grated nutmeg
- Salt and white pepper
- Peel the aubergines and courgettes and slice lengthways into ½” slices. Place in a colander, sprinkle over a pinch of salt and allow to rest for 30 minutes to remove bitterness, wiping away any excess moisture with kitchen paper.
- Thinly slice the potatoes. Heat olive oil in a pan and separately fry the sliced potatoes, aubergine and courgettes, in batches if necessary. Rest the vegetables on kitchen paper or in a colander to drain off any excess oil.
- In the same oil, briefly sauté the lamb mince. Add the onions and garlic and stir for around 5 minutes on a medium heat. Pour in the wine and stir for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, herbs and spices, season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 30 minutes until the lamb is tender. If the mixtures starts to get a little dry, add some water to the pan.
- To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and, using a wire whisk, mix in the flour over a moderate heat. Continue whisking vigorously until the mixture starts to froth. Remove from the heat and continue whisking whilst adding the cold milk. Return the pan to the heat and slowly add the beaten eggs, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Season with the nutmeg, salt and white pepper to taste. Remove from the heat, stir in half of the cheese and leave to cool slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F/170°C. In your dish (or dishes), build single layers of potatoes, then aubergines, then courgettes. Spoon all the meat mixture over the courgettes. If there are any vegetables left, layer them over the meat. Spread the béchamel sauce evenly on top, sprinkle over the remaining cheese and cook for 1 hour. Check after 45 minutes: if the top is starting to brown, cover loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Wine pairings by Bottle Apostle
… because what is moussaka without a glass of red wine? Flor De Maio, Mayflower (2015), £10.00 Messaya, Le Colombier (2014), £15.80 Ciconia, Herdade San Minguel (2015), £10.40
89 Regent’s Park Road
Photography by Sarah Louise Ramsay www.slrphotography.co.uk