"Sarah Wilson's Moussaka"
1 aubergine (eggplant), sliced lengthways.
3 courgettes (zucchini), sliced lengthways.
300 ml olive oil.
2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthways.
2 small onions, chopped.
2 cloves garlic, chopped.
750 g minced beef.
3 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped.
1 stick cinnamon.
1 bay leaf.
12 turns of black peppermill.
For the bechamel
100 ml butter.
100 g plain flour.
750 ml full-fat milk.
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg.
150 g graviera cheese (or Gruyere if unavailable), freshly grated.
1. Begin by salting the aubergine and courgette slices and leaving them for about 30 minutes, then rinse and dry on kitchen paper. Fry in plenty of olive oil over a medium heat until lightly browned and starting to soften, then drain on kitchen paper and set aside. Fry the potatoes in the same way.
2. In a separate pan, heat 70ml of the olive oil and fry the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Add the minced beef and brown it before adding the tomatoes, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. When done, remove the cinnamon and bay leaf.
3. In a deep ovenproof dish (about 24cm x 35cm) arrange the potatoes in a layer. Top with a third of the beef, then the aubergine, another third of the beef, the courgettes and finish with the remaining beef. Begin to heat the oven to 220C/ gas 7.
4. To make the bechamel sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat, stir in the flower and cook for 2 minutes until it loses its raw taste. Slowly incorporate the milk and continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs, nutmeg and 100g of the grated cheese.
5. Spread the bechamel over the layered meat and vegetables and top with a further 50g grated cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, then take out and leave to cool. Serve warm. (The dish is also very good the following day.)