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.
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
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.
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.
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.
When you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
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.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the top is golden.
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.
Recipe by Ren Behan - Author Wild Honey and Rye at http://www.renbehan.com/2014/05/make-ahead-lamb-and-potato-moussaka.html