Classic moussaka

  • for 4 people
  • Takes 15 minutes to make, 1½ hours to cook
Moussaka is a classic Greek dish made from aubergines and lamb mince. It is the perfect prepare ahead dish as it is traditionally eaten warm, not hot, and can also be eaten at room temperature.

Nutritional info per serving

Per serving 855kcals, 60g fat (27.6g saturated), 41.4g protein, 32.4g carbs, 15.2g sugar, 1.2g salt

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5 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp tomato purée
500g lean lamb mince
200ml red wine
1 cinnamon stick
400g can chopped tomatoes
Pinch of caster sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
2-3 large aubergines, thickly sliced
75g butter
75g plain flour
600ml milk
1 large free-range egg yolk
75g Parmesan, grated
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes, stirring, until soft. Add the garlic and cumin and fry for 1 minute. Add the purée and fry for 1 more minute. Turn up the heat, add the lamb, season and fry for 5 minutes until browned all over. Pour away any excess oil.
2. Add the wine and cinnamon, then, after 2-3 minutes, add the tomatoes, 100ml water, the sugar and oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick. Season.
3. Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan until very hot. Brush the aubergine with the rest of the oil, season and griddle on both sides until golden brown. Set aside on kitchen paper.
4. Make a white sauce. Melt the butter in a small pan, add the flour and stir to make a roux (paste). Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Place over a gentle heat and simmer, stirring, until thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in the egg yolk and half the cheese. Season to taste.
5. Layer the aubergine and mince in a 2-litre ovenproof dish. Repeat, then spread the white sauce on top. Scatter with the remaining cheese and sprinkle with the nutmeg.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Serve with a green salad.

  • Make this 2-3 days before and chill – the flavours intensify. You can also freeze it uncooked, then defrost and bake.

From March 2010

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