When we had that insane heat wave back in May, all I wanted was Greek food, whether it was gyros, halloumi fries… or one of my all-time favourite Greek dishes, the mighty moussaka! There seems to be an ongoing debate about whether lamb or beef mince should be used, but every time I’ve been to Greece, it’s been beef, and having done my research, it is traditionally veal mince. Anywho, I’ve gone with beef as I’m not a big fan of lamb, but you could easily substitute it for lamb mince if that’s what you prefer.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways
1 large potato, thinly sliced into rounds
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves crushed garlic
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp oregano
500g beef (or lamb) mince
150ml red wine
250g tomato passata
50g plain flour
25g pecorino, grated
Half a tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 180c (fan). Place your sliced aubergine and potato on two large baking trays, season with salt, drizzle over half of the olive oil, then bake for 15 minutes and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the remaining tbsp olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook for five minutes until soft, then add the garlic, cinnamon and oregano and cook for a further two minutes. Turn the heat up to high, add the beef mince and cook until all the meat is browned, then add the red wine and passata. Season generously with salt and pepper, bring to the boil, then simmer over a low heat for 30-40 minutes.
3. While it simmers, make the bechamel by melting the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes to make a paste or ‘roux’. Start adding the milk, a little at a time, stirring or whisky constantly, until thick. Once you’ve added all your milk and the sauce is thick, remove it from the heat and add the pecorino, the nutmeg and 1 heaped tsp salt and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, then whisk in the two beaten eggs until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan).
4. Time to assemble! In a large, rectangular baking dish, start with a layer of aubergine slices, followed by half of the mince mixture. Repeat these layers again, then top with the potato slices and finally, the bechamel. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown.
5. Most importantly, if you can face it, leave the moussaka to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving – it will make it much easier to cut! Finish with a little more grated pecorino and enjoy!