Make Ahead Lamb and Potato Moussaka

With less than two weeks to go until my third baby arrives, I’ve been in nesting mode  – it’s amazing really how this instinct kicks in just when you think you have no energy left! For me, this has also meant batch cooking and madly bookmarking easy and healthy recipes to support being a new mummy again, such as Pinch of Yum’s Creamy Potato Kale Soup, portions of vegetable lasagna (also layered up with kale and spinach) and ‘quick to throw together or stick in the oven’ recipes, such as the easy Lamb and Potato Moussaka below. A traditional Moussaka would use layers of grilled aubergine, but my kids are really not keen on the texture, so I just replace the aubergine with thinly sliced potatoes. I’m also sure I won’t want to be standing around stirring a Béchamel (white sauce) so a fail-safe tub of crème fraîche along with some grated cheese is a useful back-up plan for making a super-quick cheese sauce ready to pour over the top of this dish before it goes into the oven. I’ve included tips for making ahead and freezing in the recipe notes below.

Lamb and Potato Moussaka

Part-way through my marathon batch-cook, the freezer decided to break down. So I’ve been scrubbing, clearing out and cleaning that, too. Remind me never to freeze red wine in sandwich bags again for later use in sauces, since that’s what created the biggest mess. Can I blame Nigella for that one?! I’m sure it was one of her tips… Luckily, I’ve saved most of what I had already prepared food-wise, but still, it’s not what you need. On the plus side, everyone, including the husband, declared the Lamb and Potato Moussaka dish to be super-tasty – so much so that I’ll have to make another batch to freeze. If you are vegetarian or simply looking to include more pulses into your diet, you can add a tin of cooked lentils to the lamb or leave out the lamb altogether and just make the base out of beans and/lentils (with onions, garlic, the tomato sauce and spices).

Lamb Moussaka

I’ve also been busy road-testing a new kitchen gadget – the Sage By Heston Blumenthal Kitchen Wizz Pro, which I hope to be writing about tomorrow. It’s really a super-powerful food processor, with plenty of chopping and slicing options. I was able to quickly whizz up the onions and garlic for this Moussaka, make my own quick lamb mince (I used British lam leg steaks) as well as thinly slicing the potatoes for the top of this dish. I’ve been extremely pleased with results so far and look forward to coming up with more time-saving recipes, soon.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Easy Lamb and Potato Moussaka
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A quick and tasty Lamb and Potato Moussaka recipe, using potatoes in place of aubergine, flavoured with cinnamon and oregano and topped with an instant, tangy cheese sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 5-6 large potatoes, I used Maris Piper, peels and finely sliced
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 500g/one pound lean ground lamb mince
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste/puree
  • 1 can chopped plum tomatoes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the cheese sauce -
  • 200g/one cup crème fraîche
  • 50g/half a cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 50g/half a cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • A dash of milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • A little butter for the baking dish
Method
  1. Heat a tablespoon of rapeseed oil in a large, flat pan. Firstly, start by gently browning the potato slices. Do this by frying a few slices for one-two minutes on each side, in batches, until they are all slightly golden. Add a little more oil to the pan as necessary. Keep all the potatoes to one side, on some kitchen paper, until later. You can skip the potato-browning stage if you want a quicker version.
  2. Once that's done, in the same pan, add a further tablespoon of oil and cook the onions and garlic until soft and golden. Add the minced/ground lamb, turning up the heat a little to brown the meat all over. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and dried oregano and stir. Add in the tomato paste, canned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Turn down the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, make the quick cheese sauce by gently heating the creme fraiche and stirring through all the cheese until melted. Add a splash of milk to loosen the sauce, take it off the heat, allow to cool a little then whisk in the beaten egg.
  4. When you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  5. Lightly grease three small dishes or one large baking dish with a little butter. Spoon in some of the lamb sauce, then a layer of potato, then a further layer of lamb sauce followed again by potato. Pour the cheese sauce over the top.
  6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the top is golden.
Notes
Freezer Tip: Bake the Moussaka and cool completely. Portion up into small containers, double-wrap in foil and freeze. Defrost in the usual manner and reheat in microwave (or oven) until thoroughly heated through for a quick meal.

I hope you feel inspired to give this easy Lamb and Potato Moussaka a try – it’s a great family-friendly meal or perhaps even a crowd-pleased to bookmark for the upcoming World Cup!

What are your favourite batch-cook or make ahead recipes?

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Comments

  1. Shemile says

    Your moussaka looks yummy I’ll try that next time. And oh “freeze red wine in sandwich bags again for later use in sauces?” Is that possible? Oh well I’m really a newbie when it comes to cooking and doing stuffs in kitchen.

  2. Daniel says

    When I first to watch a contestant in a cooking show who was cooking moussaka, he’s like doing it so complicated that I didn’t even bother to watch. But your post seems to tell me “it really is easy and you’ll love doing this.” Well, I really did this and was now eating my moussaka as I was typing this comment. It’s delicious. (self- praised) :)

    • Ren Behan says

      Another good idea! Thanks Bintu, yes we all like courgettes so I’ll try that next time.

  3. says

    Gorgeous looking moussaka, great family dish that I reckon would be a crowd pleaser in this house – on my list to try. Very best of luck with everything over the next few weeks. x

  4. says

    LOL! Freezing red wine… I do admire you… I can’t imagine wine hanging around long enough to be frozen in our house ;-) Anyway I’m loving this recipe… my kids wouldn’t touch aubergine with a barge pole so I’m going to have to give this a try. Batch cooking is a survival tactic for me too… veggie curries, tomato sauce for pasta, bolognese, soups, home made burgers… you name it I stockpile it in case of emergencies!!!!!!

    • Ren Behan says

      This is true, I think it was leftover from Christmas when I couldn’t drink it. In small freezer bags, then somehow they all leaked when it defrosted :-( Oh well. Might make some burgers this week, too and hope for some sunshine :-)

  5. says

    I do love Moussaka and we also love batch cooking like this for weeknight meals. Poor you having to battle with the freezer though – hope all sorted now.

  6. says

    Gosh, poor you! Yes, you can blame Nigella. I remember that is one of her tips – from How To Eat, I think,. You know, I’ve never made moussaka. Your recipe looks fab, and perfect for getting ahead of the game. And I too almost always skip a béchamel if it is called for as the creme fraiche trick works just fine. Best wishes over the coming days and weeks x

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you Kellie! Maybe a lentil based Moussaka? Your lentil Sheperd’s PIe is a lovely recipe.

  7. says

    Shame your children aren’t keen on aubergines – my younger teen still hasn’t got into them either. Mince dishes are a staple in our house – usually a quick Nigella inspired keema when time is tight. And yes I’m sure the red wine freezing tip was from Nigella. I make my red wine leftovers into wine vinegar (you just need a ‘mother’). Good luck with the countdown.

    • Ren Behan says

      Yes love Nigella’s Keema, quick and tasty. Keeping fingers crossed for future aubergine lovers!

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