This is one of my very favourite dishes to make, as it really reminds me of home. When you add all of the herbs and spices to the lamb mince, the smell is so good, it always makes me go ‘mmmm’ in a Nigella-like fashion! There are various ways of making it, but this is my recipe. Please note that it takes time! When I made this one (with these photographs) I did it after work, and while it was still perfectly tasty, it could definitely have done with cooking for longer.
750g lamb mince
4 medium white potatoes
2 large aubergines
2 cloves of garlic
5 small white mushrooms
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato purée
3 fresh mint leaves or 1 tbsp concentrated mint sauce
Salt and Pepper
For the white sauce (this is a recipe I’ve always used from the BBC website)
50g plain flour
25g finely grated parmesan
1 free-range egg, beaten
Pre-heat the oven to 160 Degrees (Fan).
Start with the lamb mince mixture. Chop up the onion and garlic into small pieces and fry in good quality olive oil (I use my favourite Cypriot olive oil from PS Lambis, which I’ve previously written about here), on a medium heat until soft.
Next add the lamb mince and cook through thoroughly.
Chop up the tomatoes and mushrooms into small pieces and add to the mince, onion and garlic. Mushrooms aren’t usually found in a moussaka but I like to add them!
Once the tomato has had time to cook in and has gone ‘mushy’, add the tomato purée, herbs and spices. In my opinion, you can’t have enough herbs and spices in a moussaka, as that’s really what gives it its distinct flavour. Continue to taste it as you’re cooking and if you feel it needs any more of anything, just add more in.
Allow this to cook for as long as possible (ideally around an hour on a low heat) The longer you can leave it, the better the flavours will develop and the liquid will reduce.
While this is cooking, chop the aubergines up into slices, sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and set aside in a bowl for around 10 minutes.
Peel and slice the potatoes and put them into boiling water to parboil until soft.
Wash the salt off the sliced aubergines and fry them for a few minutes to soften them in a frying pan with olive oil.
You’re now ready to construct the moussaka! I would suggest starting with a layer of mince, followed by a layer of potatoes, and a layer of aubergines. Repeat this again, so you end up with 6 layers, with aubergines at the top.
For the white sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few seconds, then gradually stir in the milk. Add half the parmesan and simmer the sauce gently for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the beaten egg.
Pour on top of the moussaka, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and pop in the oven for around 45 minutes, or until it looks bubbly and the top is slightly browned.