This is a wonderful Moussaka recipe from Maggie Beer which is found in her cookbook Maggie’s Kitchen. This is a lighter version of the traditional moussaka as it uses a really good chicken stock in the béchamel sauce, and the chicken stock really does work and this version is very popular with my guests.
extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely crushed
500g minced lamb
1 x 1cm piece cinnamon stick, pounded
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup Tomato Sugo or tomato passata
2 tablespoons chopped lemon thyme
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 medium-sized eggplants, cut into 1.5-2cm thick slices
50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
1 cup milk (full-cream is best)
1 cup chicken stock
pinch of freshly grated or ground nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon thyme
1 tablespoon rinsed and finely chopped preserved lemon rind
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat and sauté onion for 5 minutes, then add garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes. Push onion and garlic to one side of the pan, then brown the lamb with the cinnamon in batches over high heat and season with salt. Return all meat to the pan, add wine, tomato paste and tomato sugo (passata), then stir to combine and bring to the boil. Add lemon thyme and lemon zest and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the béchamel sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle over flour, stirring well to combine, then cook for another few minutes or until flour colours slightly. Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the milk and then the stock, whisking continuously to prevent any lumps forming. Return to the heat and stir with a wooden spoon for another 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Add nutmeg, then season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano. Cover the surface of the sauce closely with plastic film to stop a skin forming and set aside until needed.
Brush the eggplant with olive oil, then cook on a hot char-grill pan over high heat until golden on both sides.
Preheat fan-forced oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
Lightly grease a 1 litre baking dish with olive oil. Place a later of eggplant in the base of the dish, then a layer of lamb mixture, and repeating the layering process until all the eggplant and lamb mixture are used, finishing with a layer of eggplant. Pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplant.
For the crust, mix together all the ingredients and generously sprinkle the mixture over the béchamel. (This dish can be frozen at this stage, then baked later.)
Bake lamb moussaka for 30 minutes or until the top is golden. Serve at once.