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    A luxurious moussaka from Captain Corelli's island of Cephalonia.

    • Preparation time: 90 minutes
    • Cooking time: 20 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes 60 minutes 50 minutes

    Serves: 6 - 8


    • 1kg aubergines, halved lengthways
    • 4-8 tbsp olive oil for frying
    • Meat sauce
    • 500g minced lean lamb
    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp tomato purée
    • 150ml red wine
    • Tomato sauce
    • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 600ml passata or 600g tinned plum tomatoes, puréed
    • White sauce
    • 2-3 tbsp grated mature Cheddar cheese
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    • 75g butter
    • 6 heaped tbsp flour
    • 1 litre full-fat milk
    • 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten


    1. Put the mince in a large pan and fry gently. Let any moisture cook off, then add the onions, parsley and cinnamon. When the onion begins to brown, add the tomato purée and wine. Cover and cook gently for an hour or so, until the meat is tender.
    2. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the dish. Make criss-cross cuts in the aubergine flesh. Heat about 4 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the aubergine halves gently, face down - in batches, if necessary. Cook until soft (they shrink a lot), then transfer to a sieve to drain. Press them to get rid of excess oil.
    3. In another pan, simmer the ingredients for the tomato sauce for 30 minutes or so, until thick and rich.
    4. In a third pan, make the white sauce: melt the butter and stir in the flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the milk. Continue whisking over the heat until it thickens. Remove, cool to finger-heat, before whisking in the eggs. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
    5. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
    6. Arrange the aubergines, cut side up, in a baking dish (about 35 x 23cm). Spoon in the meat, top with tomato, finish with the white sauce, sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, until brown and bubbling. Serve with a herb salad.

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