Colder evenings call for warming comfort food such as this satisfying moussaka. Serve with a fresh green salad or even just a crusty baguette to mop up the rich sauce.
500g lamb mince
2 aubergines (sliced crossways)
4 large white potatoes (peeled and sliced)
1 onion (diced)
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 garlic cloves (minced)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground oregano
150ml beef stock
For the béchamel sauce:
80g grated cheddar or parmesan
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Lay your potato slices on one baking tray and your aubergine discs on another with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, put the lamb, onion, garlic, oregano and cinnamon in a large frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Once browned, add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over a high heat for 4-5 minutes until the ragù is reduced to a thick and saucy texture.
2 To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few seconds, then gradually stir in the milk. Add half the grated cheese and simmer the sauce gently for 4–5 minutes, stirring regularly. Season with salt and pepper.
3 Add the potato slices to an ovenproof dish in a single layer. Spoon over a layer of lamb ragú and top this with a layer of aubergine slices. Repeat once more before pouring over the béchamel sauce and topping with the rest of the grated cheese. Bake the moussaka for 35-40 minutes until it is golden and bubbling.
Make this dish vegetarian by substituting the lamb for one 400g tin of cooked puy lentils and using vegetable stock instead of beef.
If you are concerned about the aubergine being bitter – the fresher the aubergine the less chance of this there is – simply place your raw slices in a colander with a pinch or two of salt, leave for 10 minutes and then rinse them thoroughly before patting dry with kitchen towel. Oven bake as instructed.
This dish can be made ahead by covering your layered moussaka with cling film and storing it in the fridge. When ready to bake, simply cook for 5 minutes longer in the oven.