I first had a Mousakka shortly I started working in London at Valentino’s an Italian-run lunch cornershop in Holborn and subsequently had many of them at places such as the Lebanese restaurant chain Maroush. The layered aubergines, occasionally with potatoes, topped with a ragu-style minced lamb and a Béchamel sauce provide instant satisfaction whenever one fancies a hot lunch. Fast forward many years, I have since made the dish at home numerous times. The best thing about this adapted recipe of mine is, you can always make this in advance of a dinner party – all is left on the day would be the sauce and into the oven it goes an hour before serving, delicious with a Greek salad and rice all year round.
The following is a mini Mousakka I made last Friday, which took around 15 minutes to make and 30 minutes to cook. You could make larger portions and freeze for use at a later date too.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 onion
- 200g mince lamb/beef
- 1/2 carrot or celery stick, chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp fish sauce (in my opinion best with any tomato-based dish, but 1/2 stock cube will suffice)
- 300ml water
- 1/2 aubergine
- spray oil
- 25g spread
- 30g flour
- 200ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 50g cheese (I have tried all kinds but Parmesan would give you the nutty flavour)
Pre-heat oven to 180C. Heat half the oil in a pan. Brown the onion and add the mince. Cook for 2 minutes and add the vegetables. Stir for a couple of minutes, then add the oregano and tomato puree, seasoning and water. Cook for another 5 minutes. Slice the aubergines and spray oil on a baking tray to grill until griddle marks appear. To cook the sauce, warm the spread in a saucepan and add the flour, mix well. Stir in the milk to thicken, then add the nutmeg and cheese. In a baking dish, layer the aubergine slices and mince meat alternately. Pour over the white sauce and bake for 30 minutes.
For two adults.
Per 100g: Energy 147kcal 609kJ | Fat 9.7g of which saturates 4g | Carbohydrate 5.8g of which sugars 2.7g | Fibre 1g | Protein 8.8g | Salt 0.4g
Per serving (400g): Energy 588kcal 2437kJ | Fat 39g of which saturates 16.1g | Carbohydrate 23g of which sugars 11g | Fibre 3.9g | Protein 35g | Salt 1.6g