My recipe is based on one from the Greek Cookbook by Tess Mallos, which I bought in a secondhand bookshop in Melbourne in 1997. I've modified it a little - the original uses a white sauce, whereas mine uses plain yoghurt.
Lamb Moussaka - serves 4-6
2-3 Aubergines/eggplants, sliced 1/4 inch thick
500g/1lb minced/ground lamb
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
150-200g/6-8oz mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree/paste
1/2 cup of red wine
1/4 teaspoon cinamon
1 teaspoon sugar
300ml (approx half a pint) of plain yoghurt
2oz/50g freshly grated parmisan cheese or very strong cheddar
- Pre-heat the grill/broiler. Lightly grease a large baking tray and cover it with aubergine slices. If possible, try to keep it to a single layer. Brush the top of each slice with olive oil. Grill/broil for 30 minutes, turning at half time. The aubergine should be soft and browned.
- Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.
- Heat a frying pan or large pot. Crumble in the lamb and dry fry until browned. Stir in the garlic, onion and mushrooms, if using, and fry in the lamb fat until the onions have gone clear and the mushroom "water" has evaporated.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, cinnamon, sugar and wine. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30-45 minutes or until the sauce is thick.
- When the sauce and aubergine are ready, preheat the oven to 180C.
- Line a lasagne dish with a layer of aubergine. Check out how much you have left - is it half or two-thirds? If it is half, pour all the sauce over the first layer and cover with the remaining aubergine. If it is two-thirds, pour half the sauce over the first layer of aubergine, cover with a second, pour over the rest of the sauce and cover with a final layer.
- In a bowl or jug, beat the eggs together then stir in the yoghurt until thoroughly combined. Grate over some nutmeg - 5 rubs of the nutmeg over the grater should do. Stir it in.
- Carefully pour the yoghurt mixture over the contents of the lasagne dish (it tends to run off the sides!). Try to get an even coverage. Sprinkle over the cheese.
- Bake for an hour, then let sit for 10 minutes before serving to firm up.
- If you keep Kosher, use a soy-based fake yoghurt instead of the plain yoghurt and forget about the cheese. That works well.
- Jewish cookery writer, Evelyn Rose, in the Jewish Cronicle, suggested using coconut milk mixed with eggs as a non-dairy substitute for the traditional white sauce I've not tried this variation, but she said it made a rich topping which brought out the sweetness of the lamb.
- The recipe book suggests using courgettes/zucchini instead of aubergine. Yet another way of using up a glut of zukes.