Moussaka is a great dish for a crowd. Traditionally the sauce just has lamb mince in it but to make it a bit healthier I add vegetables and some red lentils. I also like to roast the aubergines in the oven before layering them in the moussaka so they’re nice and tender. This recipe serves twelve. I made it in two large dishes and had a few single portion foil containers for the freezer. It freezes really well. Use gluten free flour for the white sauce if you prefer.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 Leek
  • 1  Stick Celery
  • 1 Carrot ( all first 3 ingredients finely chopped in food processor)
  • 3 Large Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1kg Lamb Mince
  • 500ml Red Wine
  • 2 Tins Plum Tomatoes
  • 4 Onions Chopped
  • 10tbls Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 5 Large or 6 Medium Aubergines Sliced
  • 2 Peppers diced
  • 600g Mushrooms sliced
  • 100g Red Lentils
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp dried Cumin
  • 1 tsp dried Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds crushed
  • 1 tbls Sundried Tomato or Tomato purée
  • 200g Grated Mature Cheddar For the top

White Sauce 

  • 75g Butter
  • 75g White Flour
  • 900ml Milk
  • 175g Grated Mature Cheddar
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 3 Eggs

There are three parts to making the moussaka; the meat sauce, the aubergines and the white sauce. To start the meat sauce fry the onions, leek, celery and carrot in 4 tbls of olive oil in a large pan on a low heat for 20 minutes. Meanwhile slice the aubergines and toss them in the remaining 6 tbls olive oil. Lay them on baking trays lined with non stick baking parchment and roast for 15 mins at 180 degrees C, 350 degrees F or Gas 4 for 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, peppers and garlic to the pan, turn up the heat to low-medium and fry for 15 minutes.

In a non stick frying pan brown the lamb mine in small batches seasoning each one lightly as you go and draining off the fat. Add the drained meat to the pan with the vegetables. Also add the lentils and the wine. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil to allow the alcohol to burn off then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the tomatoes, purée, spices and continue to simmer for 30 minutes with the lid off to thicken. Check the seasoning. You may need to adjust it and possibly add some sugar if your tinned tomatoes were acidic. While the sauce is simmering make your white sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low to medium heat and then add the flour, stir this over the heat for a minute or two to cook out the flour. Add the milk gradually off the heat whisking constantly then return to the heat continuing to whisk as it comes up to the boil and thickens. Add the cheese, fresh nutmeg and stir in with a spoon. Leave to cool and then stir in the beaten eggs.

 

Now you have your 3 elements for layering. Start with a layer of meat sauce, then a layer of aubergines, another layer of meat sauce, a final layer of aubergines, a layer of the white sauce and top with some grated cheese. Use whatever size dishes you like. You can freeze the dish at this point when cold. If using straight away bake at 180 degrees C, 350 degrees F or Gas 4 for 35 minutes. If defrosted to room temperature cook for the same length of time. Individual portions take slightly less time at the same temperature- 25 minutes.