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Friday, 20-Feb-2009 20:33 Email | Share | Bookmark

Italian flat leaf parsley

by Antony Worrall Thompson

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
500g minced beef
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh
thyme leaves
175ml water
4 medium aubergines, cut into 1cm/½in slices
salt and freshly ground black pepper
plain flour, for dusting

For the Béchamel Topping:
3oz unsalted butter
3oz plain flour
900ml milk
3oz parmesan, grated
4oz gruyère, grated
2 egg yolks
1 egg

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole dish. Add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft, but not coloured. Brown half the lamb in a frying pan and add to the onion. Add the garlic and break up the meat with a wooden fork until it has a loose texture. Brown the remaining lamb.

Stir the cinnamon, allspice, chopped tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves and thyme into the casserole. Add the rest of the browned lamb and de-glaze the pan with water. Pour straight into the casserole dish, and simmer for 1 hour.

Place the aubergines in a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave for 30minutes.

Meanwhile make the béchamel sauce.
Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and stir in the flour. Take off the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return the pan to the heat and stir continuously until the sauce thickens.
Simmer over a gentle heat for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in 2 oz of the parmesan and 2 oz of the gruyère cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Rinse the aubergines and pat dry. Dust the aubergines with flour and fry in olive oil until golden on both sides. Set aside.

The white sauce should now have cooled enough to whisk in the egg and egg yolks.

Cover the base of an ovenproof dish with a third of the mince then cover with half the aubergine slices.
Repeat the layers, ending in the last of the mince, then pour over the cheese sauce. Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan and gruyère.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 50-60 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Allow the moussaka to settle for 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Serve the moussaka with a chunky tomato, cucumber, parsley and mint salad.

Find more treats on Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

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