This is all the more delicious with the introduction of feta cheese, which is undoubtedly one of the most famous Greek cheeses. The salty, tangy flavour of feta pairs beautifully with the rich lamb sauce and is crumbled over the béchamel sauce. This dish is best prepared and cooked the day before; allow the flavours to infuse and then reheat the next day.

Ingredients

  • 4 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 large aubergines, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp oregano - fresh is best but if not available dried
  • 500g minced lamb
  • 1 x 450g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tblsp tomato purée
  • 150ml red wine
  • Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

For the Béchamel:

  • 500ml milk
  • 60g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 100g feta cheese, broken up into little pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Method

This is all the more delicious with the introduction of feta cheese, which is undoubtedly one of the most famous Greek cheeses. The salty, tangy flavour of feta pairs beautifully with the rich lamb sauce and is crumbled over the béchamel sauce. This dish is best prepared and cooked the day before; allow the flavours to infuse and then reheat the next day. 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Cut the aubergines widththways into 0.5cm slices, and put them on to oiled baking sheets.
  2. Brush with olive oil and season. Bake for about 25 minutes until soft, golden and floppy.
  3. Meanwhile, put 2 tbsp olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium high heat and cook the onion until soft.
  4. Add the garlic, cinnamon, allspice and oregano and cook for a further couple of minutes, then stir in the lamb.
  5. Turn up the heat slightly, and brown the lamb well, cooking until the mixture is quite dry.
  6. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and wine, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down low and cook for 30-40 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Season and stir in the parsley.
  8. Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Bring the milk to just below boiling point, and melt the butter in another saucepan.
  9. Stir the flour into the butter and cook for a couple of minutes, then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook until you have a thick sauce.
  10. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, salt to taste and slightly more nutmeg than you might think wise (it's a strong flavour, but you need a heft of it in this dish, I think - half a teaspoon at least).
  11. Arrange a third of the aubergines in the base of an oven dish, and top with half the meat. Repeat these layers, then finish off with a layer of aubergine, and top with the sauce. Sprinkle the crumbled feta on top.
  12. Bake for about 45 minutes until well browned, and then leave to cool and set for 15 minutes before serving. Or better still: cook for 30 minutes, allow to cool then refrigerate and reheat and serve the following day.