Approx cost: €7.50
Approx calories (per serving): ~500
Approx preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes
I’ve never done much cooking with lamb – in fact it’s one of the things which I’ve really started using within the past 7 years so, since I’ve been living in France. Minced lamb is next to impossible to find in France so it was with no small amount of happiness that I placed an order for a whole kilo of the stuff from an English store online. So there I was with a rather large bag of lamb mince, and no specific plan for it.
Moussaka, I thought, would be a good idea and then I had the realisation that I still don’t have a functioning oven – grr! Well, they say that necessity is the mother of all invention so I found a way around this little obstacle, though I’ve written the recipe below assuming that you have an oven… or at the very least a grill. Much like a lasagna, but with aubergine instead of pasta, the moussaka has plenty of opportunities to be unhealthy – piled high with cheese, drenched in oil – I’ve done my best to make this as “light” as possible and the final calorific content is actually pretty low! Enjoy 🙂
For the meat sauce
– 500g Minced Lamb
– 1 large Onion
– 5 or 6 cloves of Garlic
– 2 x 400g tins of crushed Tomatoes
– 2 tbsps Tomato Concentrate
– 1 tsp Olive Oil
– 2 tsps ground Cinnamon
– 2 tsps ground Coriander
– 1 tsp ground Cumin
– 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
– 1 tsp dried Thyme
For the béchamel sauce
– 25g Butter
– 2-3 tbsps Plain Flour
– 3-4 decilitres Milk
You’ll also need
– 3 x Aubergines
– 3 tbsps Olive Oil
– 120g Cheese, such as cheddar or comté
- Start off by slicing the aubergines into slices about 1 cm thick. Drizzle or brush with the 3 tbsps of olive oil and place under the grill. Grill each side for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and the sizes are glossy.
- While the aubergine is grilling, peel and finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Heat the 1 tsp of Olive Oil in a large pan and add in the onion and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes until the onion has softened and then add in the minced lamb. Cook through, stirring well, until the lamb is cooked.
- Add in the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, thyme and cayenne pepper, as well as about 1 tsp each of Salt and Pepper to the meat and stir well. Add in the tinned tomatoes and the tomato concentrate as well and mix well with the meat. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring regularly, until the sauce has reduced and thickened – around 15-20 minutes.
- Set aside and in a new pan, melt the butter for the béchamel sauce. When completely melted, whisk in the plain flour, and then slowly, add the milk, a little bit at a time, whisking between each new addition, waiting for the sauce to thicken before adding more milk. Keep adding milk until the sauce is starting to take a good consistency. You don’t want the sauce to thick, but equally you don’t want something which is more similar to water than a sauce.
- Add half the meat sauce mixture into the bottom of a large roasting pan or oven-safe dish. Layer the top with half of the aubergines before adding the remainder of the meat sauce and the remainder of the aubergines. Pour on the béchamel sauce over the top layer of aubergines and then grate the cheese and sprinkle over the béchamel sauce.
- Bake in the oven, around 160 degrees Celsius, for about 30 minutes, until the cheese on top is golden brown and bubbling. Remove and cut into pieces and serve! Enjoy with a baked potato, or just a fresh side salad.