This is a wonderful dish – yes it does have stages to it but seriously you will so enjoy the result – make it early in the day and place in fridge for your dinner the next day – even better the next day!
Serves 6-8 takes 2 hours
50 g butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 cups (500ml) milk brought to the boil
Pinch ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt or to taste
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
500g lamb mince
2 x 410g can chopped tomatoes in juice
3 tbsp tomato paste
freshly ground black pepper
2 eggplants, (800g in total) sliced 1cm thick
½ cup flour for dusting
3 eggs, beaten
11/2 cups breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ cup grated tasty cheese
Chopped parsley for sprinkling
Make a béchamel by gently heating the butter, add flour, take care to ensure the flour does not brown.
2. Slowly add hot milk, stirring. Bring mixture just to boil, add nutmeg and season. Simmer, stirring it will thicken. Cool stir from time to time to prevent skin forming.
3. Heat oil over low heat, add onion, garlic and bay leaves. Cook very gently for 10 minutes. Add mince increase the heat and cook for another 10 minutes breaking up the lumps. Add undrained tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer another 5-10 minutes. Take off heat, discard bay leaves, season and reserve.
4. Dust eggplant slices lightly in flour and dunk well in beaten egg and then into breadcrumbs. Coat well.
5. Preheat oven to 170degC.
6. Heat ½ cm vegetable oil over moderate heat and fry eggplant slices in batches until well browned on each side. Remove breadcrumbs from pan as you cook – they will burn.
7. Place cooked eggplant on paper towels. Then place half the fried eggplant in a large 23 x 28cm baking dish in one layer and sprinkle with half the cheeses. Cover with an even layer of lamb. Cover that with remaining eggplant.
Spread béchamel over eggplant and remaining cheeses on top
Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Cool 10 minutes and sprinkle with more parsley.
Cook’s tip In Greek homes they make it in the morning, cook it off earlier in the afternoon and serve it after it has been resting for at least an hour – makes slicing much easier and they prefer it at that temperature.