A recipe by Charlotte Pike
Potatoes are a much-loved addition to moussaka. I often leave them out to make it a little lighter, so the choice is yours.
2 large aubergines, cut into 1cm thick rounds
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
750g minced beef or half beef, half pork
1tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 glass white wine
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper
500g floury potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
To top the moussaka
125g plain flour
1 litre whole milk
Sea salt, black pepper and nutmeg
Chopped fresh parsley, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C/ Gas Mark 4. Place the aubergine on to a large baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, turn and roast again for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a large pan, add some more oil, the garlic and onion and gently cook for around 15 minutes until soft and fragrant, but not browned. Place the onion and garlic on a plate and set aside. Add a little more oil to the pan, and turn up the heat and add the minced meat. Fry for around 5 minutes until sealed. Add the onion, garlic and lower the heat slightly. Add the cinnamon and dried herbs and stir through. Now, add the wine, tomatoes and season well. Simmer for at least 20 minutes but give it longer if you have time. This can also be batch cooked in a slow cooker.
Next, prepare the topping. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir in to form a thick paste. Cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly. This cooks the flour, so it’s an important step to take, even if it looks dry. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring each addition in until it’s fully incorporated. After the first few additions, you can go in with a whisk to ensure the sauce is smooth. Season well with salt and pepper. One all the milk is added, allow the sauce to gently simmer and thicken for around 15 minutes. Set aside to cool slighty.
The moussaka can be assembled now. Take a deep ovenproof dish, around 20 x 30cm square. Start with a layer of mince, followed by a layer of potatoes (if you’re using them) and then more mince and then aubergines. Finish with a thick layer of sauce spread evenly over the top. You could put grated cheese on top of the sauce if you like.
Bake the moussaka in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes until piping hot and bubbling and the potatoes are completely tender. Serve hot with a green salad on the side.