Braised lamb neck moussaka

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

  • 100 ml canola oil
  • 2 lamb necks (about 900 gm each)
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50 gm tomato paste
  • 1 litre (4 cups) each lamb stock and veal stock (see note)
  • 400 gm canned crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cinnamon quill
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • 2 desiree potatoes, sliced 5mm thick
  • 2 eggplants, sliced 1 cm thick
  • To taste: freshly grated nutmeg
  • To serve: Greek salad (optional) and Greek-style yoghurt
  •  
  • Cheese sauce
  • 50 gm unsalted butter
  • 50 gm plain flour
  • 550 ml milk
  • 50 gm parmesan, finely grated
  • 50 gm kefalotiri, finely grated (see note)
01   Preheat oven to 150C. Heat half the oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat, add lamb neck, season to taste and turn occasionally until golden (3-5 minutes). Remove lamb and set aside. Add onion and garlic to casserole, stir occasionally until golden (7-10 minutes). Add tomato paste and stir continuously for 2 minutes, then add stocks, tomato, cinnamon and oregano and bring to a simmer. Add lamb neck, cover and bake until lamb is tender (2½ hours). Add potato to casserole and bake until potato is cooked through and lamb is very tender (20-25 minutes), set aside to cool.
02   Remove lamb and potato from liquid. Coarsely shred lamb (discard bones and sinew) and place in a large bowl. Strain liquid, add braising solids to lamb with enough liquid to moisten (about 2 tbsp), season to taste and set aside.
03   Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat until smoking, fry eggplant in batches, turning once, until golden (1-2 minutes each side), drain on absorbent paper and set aside.
04   For cheese sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add flour and stir frequently until combined (1-2 minutes). Add milk 50ml at a time, stirring well after each addition, until all milk is incorporated, then stir occasionally until thick (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in cheeses, season to taste, set aside and keep warm.
05   Increase oven to 180C. Divide eggplant among 6 x 300ml-capacity ovenproof dishes, top with lamb then potato slices then cheese sauce. Bake until golden (25-30 minutes). Season to taste with freshly grated nutmeg and serve immediately with yoghurt and Greek salad, if desired.
Note For information on how to make stocks, click here. Alternatively, substitute good-quality store-bought veal stock. Kefalotiri is a Greek sheep’s milk cheese and is available from select delicatessens.
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