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The Caterer

Moussaka

11 September 2006
Moussaka

Ingredients
(Serves eight)
250ml vegetable oil
1kg aubergines, sliced lengthways 1cm thick
500g courgettes, sliced lengthways 1cm thick
100ml olive oil
250g Spanish onions, finely chopped
1kg lamb shoulder, minced
1tbs ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
400g tomato perasti (or passata)
100ml red wine, if needed
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
For the béchamel cheese sauce
500-600ml milk
115g butter
115g plain flour
1 nutmeg, freshly grated
100g Kefalotyri cheese or aged pecorino, grated
2 eggs

Method
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan, then fry the vegetables - aubergines first, then courgettes - turning the slices once. Remove and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat olive oil. Sauté onions until soft. Add minced meat and cook until well browned, keeping the heat low.

Add the ground cinnamon, some salt and pepper and the tomato perasti. Stir well and, if the mixture looks slightly dry, add red wine. Simmer with lid on for 20-30 minutes, or until meat sauce is well cooked and liquid has been absorbed.

In a roasting tray, make alternate layers of aubergine and courgette slices, meat sauce, and parsley. Start and finish with aubergine.

Make the béchamel sauce, seasoning well and adding nutmeg before simmering to thicken. Add the grated cheese. Remove pan from heat. After 20 minutes, beat eggs thoroughly and stir them into the sauce.

Pour sauce over meat and aubergines and bake for one hour, or until the top to the sauce is brown and has a crust. Let it rest for one hour, then serve with a tomato salad.

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