This is an indulgent and rich Mediterranean classic made with beef and aubergine. It works both as a fabulous mid-week meal or something more special for the weekend.

 

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 1¼–1/½ hours

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 60–90ml / 4–6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 450g /1lb lean minced beef
  • 5ml / 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10ml / 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 150ml / ¼ pt beef stock or water
  • salt and black pepper
  • 4 aubergines
  • 25g / 1oz butter
  • 25g / 1oz plain flour
  • 300ml / ½ pt milk
  • 1 egg

Recipe method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4

2. Peel and finely chop the onion; heat 15ml / 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-based pan and gently fry the onion for about 5 minutes, covering the pan with a lid. Add the minced beef and fry until brown and thoroughly sealed. Stir in the salt, tomato paste and stock; season to taste with freshly ground pepper. Bring this mixture to the boil, reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the meat is tender and the liquid is almost absorbed.

3. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the aubergines. Layer them in a colander and sprinkle them generously with salt; let the aubergines stand for 30 minutes to draw out the bitter juices. Drain, rinse in cold water and pat thoroughly dry on absorbent kitchen paper.

4. Fry the aubergine slices in the remaining oil until golden, then drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Arrange a layer of aubergines in the bottom of a large buttered ovenproof dish or casserole. Cover with a layer of the meat, then another layer of aubergines and so on, finishing with a layer of aubergines.

5. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and stir in the flour. Cook gently for 1 minute, then gradually mix in the milk, stirring continuously. Bring this sauce to the boil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and simmer for 1–2 minutes. Draw the pan off the heat and beat in the egg.

6. Spoon this sauce over the moussaka; place in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 35–40 minutes or until bubbling hot and browned.

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