Moussaka, as far as I’m concerned, just doesn’t cut the mustard without a delicious creamy béchamel layer beneath the cheese. The dish is fairly low in gluten already, but once you’ve mastered gluten free béchamel, you have the basis to make other dishes previously off-limits to the gluten-intolerant, such as chicken Mornay, cauliflower and macaroni cheese and lasagne (made with gluten free pasta, of course).
But let’s get back to the moussaka for now. Lamb mince in a rich, red wine and tomato sauce, spiked with oregano and cinnamon layered with sliced aubergine: this is comfort food at its best. Moussaka will bring a taste of Mediterranean sunshine to these grey British nights. Some crazy folks like to swap the aubergine for sliced potato (what’s that about?), but I’m all about the aubergines. Sometimes, they can end up being greasy or, worse still, squeaky and undercooked, but I combat this by brushing the aubergine slices with oil and seasoning before roasting in the oven first.
I like to brown off the lamb mince in a dry frying pan before draining off the fat to ensure the moussaka is as grease-free as possible. You don’t have to do this and I know, for some, this is tantamount to meat sacrilege, but that’s the way my mum does it and I have followed suit. You can skip this step if you want a fuller fat version.
I’m going to give you two recipes for béchamel, one made with a classic roux and a cheat’s version that can be zapped in the microwave.