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  • Seasonal local food recipe No.294 – Felicity Cloake’s perfect moussaka

    Posted on September 20th, 2015 Janet No comments

    This recipe is taken from Felicity Cloake’s How to Cook the Perfect column in the Guardian. Every week she takes a familiar dish and tries several different recipes before coming up with her definitive recipe to make the perfect dish, in this case the perfect moussaka. We will be trying this on Sunday.

    aubergine-plant-p-camelcsa-0815Serves 4

    Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes

    Ingredients
    4 tbsp olive oil
    3 medium or 2 large aubergines, sliced
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    1.5 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp dried oregano
    500g minced lamb
    2 tbsp tomato purée, mixed with 150ml water
    150ml red wine
    Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

    aubergines-tomatoes-camelcsa-180714For the béchamel:
    500ml milk
    60g butter
    60g plain flour
    50g kefalotyri or pecorino cheese, grated
    2 eggs, beaten
    Nutmeg, to grate

    Method
    Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Cut the aubergines lengthways into 0.5cm slices, and put them on to oiled baking sheets. Brush with olive oil and season. Bake for about 25 minutes until soft, golden and floppy.

    Meanwhile, put 2 tbsp olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium high heat and cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic, cinnamon and oregano and cook for a further couple of minutes, then stir in the lamb. Turn up the heat slightly, and brown the lamb well, cooking until the mixture is quite dry. Stir in the tomato and wine, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down low and cook for 30–40 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and stir in the parsley.

    While the meat is cooking, make the bechamel. Bring the milk to just below boiling point, and melt the butter in another saucepan. Stir the flour into the butter and cook for a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook until you have a thick sauce, then stir in the cheese until melted. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, salt to taste and add slightly more nutmeg than you might think wise (it’s a strong flavour, but you need a heft of it in this dish I think – half a teaspoon at least).

    Arrange a third of the aubergines in the base of an oven dish, and top with half the meat. Repeat these layers, then finish off with a layer of aubergine, and top with the sauce. Bake for about 45 minutes until well browned, and then leave to cool for half an hour before serving.

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