This makes a great main course for a crowd or you can make this big batch and freeze some. Every time I make this, or other similar bakes, they will be a bit different depending on what looks good in the market so I won’t be too prescriptive with quantities but this should serve about 10 and makes 2 large dishes of moussaka. It’s a great veggie bake with lots of different flavours and textures in the layers, which include potato, aubergine, mushrooms, spinach, a tomato and lentil sauce and a ricotta white sauce topped with grated cheese. It can be cooked ahead of time and probably improves from standing for a few hours after cooking as the flavours combine nicely.
I started by making the tomato and lentil sauce. I skinned a kilo of ripe tomatoes, by blanching them in boiling water, (2 or 3 tins of tomatoes would be fine) I fried a chopped large onion in olive oil with some crushed garlic, the I added the tomatoes (chopped) and some salt and chilli powder (use regular pepper if you prefer) and simmered this until it had reduced a bit and the I added a can of drained lentils and some chopped fresh basil leaves. This will make a thick tomato sauce. Then I sliced a kilo of potatoes quite thickly and boiled them until almost cooked and then drained them. I sliced 2 large aubergines quite thinly and tossed them in some olive oil and cooked them on a griddle. I did the same with about 400g of sliced mushrooms. I then made a white sauce by heating some butter in a pan and then adding flour and then I added about 700 ml of milk and some salt, a couple of bay leaves and some grated nutmeg and heated this up and as it began to thicken added 300g of ricotta cheese and some chopped dill. I cooked some spinach and squeezed out the excess liquid to leave me a couple of cups of cooked spinach.
Then I greased two large baking bowls and assembled the moussakas staring with a layer of potatoes followed by aubergine and mushrooms then part of the tomato and lentil sauce then spinach and some of the white sauce, Then I added more aubergine and mushrooms some more tomato and lentil sauce and spinach and topped this with a layer of potatoes and poured over more of the white sauce (minus the bay leaves) and then sprinkled grated cheese (about 200-250g) over the top, I used a mature cheddar, and finally grated some nutmeg on the top. I baked this at about 180 degrees C / 350F for about an hour or so until it’s cooked through and nice and brown on top. I then allowed it to cool and reheated it before serving.
I served it with a simple green salad and garlic bread. It’s a bit of a retro meal that reminds me of meals I had as a kid.
Everyone seemed to enjoy it! And thanks for the Photos Paul Swann.
A great looking ‘copy’ by my cousin Kirsten.