This recipe is a great way to use up leftover lamb. Then again, I get far too impatient to wait for ‘leftover lamb’, that I find myself buying lamb especially to make this, on a regular basis — it’s just too good, not to!
A note on cooking
I encourage you to embrace a freestyle way of cooking, and use this recipe as a guide. Don’t get too caught up in measuring things exactly — you can eyeball most things.
Cooking should be relaxing, unfussy and an opportunity for you to exercise your creativity. Don’t forget to taste as you go along, and use your intuition with flavours.
Trust your instinct, on whether it needs more of this, or more of that — cook to what you like!
Preheat the oven to 180–200ºC (356-392°F). To make the meat sauce, melt a knob of butter with a glug of oil, in a heavy based pot over a low heat. Add the onions and sauté gently for 10 minutes, until softened.
Turn up the heat and add the lamb, stirring frequently, brown the meat until no pink is showing.
Stir in the garlic, chilli, ginger, bay, all the spices and cook for two minutes, until the spices have toasted (brought back to life).
Add the tomatoes along with the wine and reduce by half. Add enough stock to cover the meat, bring to the boil and season with salt and pepper.
Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer for at least an hour (the longer the better… if you have a simmering oven, use this!). At the end of cooking, remove the lid and over a high heat, stirring frequently, reduce the sauce till most of the liquid has cooked away. You will know when it’s done if the sauce yields the bottom of the pan when you scrap the wooden spoon down the centre.
While the meat cooks, prepare the topping. In a bowl, toss the aubergine slices with a glug of olive oil until lightly coated. Don’t use too much oil, or they will become soggy. Lay flat on a backing tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes until golden and tender. You may need to do this on a couple of baking trays — avoid overcrowding and overlapping the slices. When they’re done, season the slices with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Make the cheese sauce: In a mixing bowl, whisk all the sauce ingredients until well combined. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Assemble the moussaka: Grease an ovenproof dish with butter or oil. Spoon all the meat sauce into the bottom of the dish. Layer with overlapping aubergine slices, making sure to cover the meat. Pour over the cheese sauce and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes, until nicely golden.