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Moussaka Recipe.


2 aubergines, cut into 1cm/½in slices
1 tbsp fine sea salt
750g/1lb 10½oz lamb mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
1½ tsp dried mint
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp plain flour
½ tsp flaked sea salt, plus extra for seasoning
200ml/7fl oz red wine
1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
7 tbsp olive oil
500g/1lb 2oz Maris Piper potatoes, peeled, sliced into 1cm/½in slices
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the white sauce
50g/2oz butter
50g/2oz plain flour
400ml/14fl oz milk
1 tsp finely grated nutmeg
25g/1oz finely grated parmesan
1 free-range egg, beaten

Place the aubergine pieces in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes. Put the lamb, onions, garlic, oregano, mint, bay leaves and cinnamon in a large heavy-based frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Stir in the flour, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato purée and bring to a simmer.

Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside. Rinse the aubergine pieces under cold running water and pat dry in a clean tea towel. Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the aubergines for 2-3 minutes on each side, adding more oil when necessary. Remove from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for five minutes, then drain in a colander under running water until cold. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C (fan)/Gas 4.

For the béchamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few seconds, then gradually stir in the milk. Add half the parmesan and the grated nutmeg.

Simmer the sauce gently for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the beaten egg. Cover the surface of the sauce with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.

Spoon one third of the meat sauce into a large, shallow ovenproof dish. Cover with a layer of potatoes and a layer of aubergines. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with the aubergines. Pour over the white sauce, making sure it covers in a thick, even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until deep golden-brown and bubbling.