Cheats’ Moussaka

A restaurant described Moussaka as a lamb and aubergine pie … well, I suppose it is sort of, but of the many variations I’ve never had it topped with pastry. The whole fandangle takes some effort, so here’s the quickie version – well, at least to prep, it still takes 40 mins in the oven.
You need a really rich lamb mixture: fry off the minced, lean lamb and put aside giving a chance to reduce the fat further. Clean out the pan and soften onions, peppers, maybe a slice or two of fennel, celery and when soft add the meat back. Add tomatoes, fresh skinned or tinned (passim) and a smidge of tomato paste. I usually add ginger, garlic, thyme, rosemary and parsley as the base flavours, pimento and chilli flakes can spice it up a bit. Leave to bubble away merrily.
Slice your aubergine, circle, cross lengths, long lengths, whatever will fit your deep dish. You can salt them and dry them but I’ve never noticed the difference. Fry them off and as you do so layer them in the dish: aubergine at the bottom, then the mince, more aubergine, more lamb, finally aubergine. Then my cheats’ topping.
For a four person dish you need half a large pot of plain yoghourt (low fat’s fine) into which beat three nice eggs (a couple if you use duck’s), plus salt and pepper. Now pour the mix onto the last layer of aubergine – it should be quite thick. Slip a knife down the side of the dish at intervals to give the topping a chance to slither down the side – it looks very attractive if you are using a clear soufflé dish for example. Then – most important – lots and lots of grated nutmeg, and nothing but the real thing, ready ground is just sawdust.
Forty minutes at about 160 and the topping will brown, rising like a soufflé itself. You should be able to take out a slab in a whole piece, spooning out any reluctant lamb. Serve with steamed veg.