Potato Moussaka

The potato has found its way into many previously unpotatoed classic dishes, and not to their detriment. This will feed four to six people.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 g) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large aubergine, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 lb (450 g) lean lamb, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tomatoes, peeled and quartered (or 14 oz (400 g) can chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • pints (900 ml) milk, warmed
  • 2 egg yolks

Method

First sprinkle a little salt on the aubergine and leave the slices to drain. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sauté the onions until they are transparent, then add the lamb and stir frequently until it begins to brown. Add the garlic, cinnamon, tomatoes, tomato purée and the seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes or so.

Rinse the salt off the aubergine and pat dry. Fry the slices in the remaining oil and then drain on kitchen paper to remove as much of the oil as possible. Layer with the lamb in a wide ovenproof dish. Cover with the potato slices.

Melt the butter, stir in the flour and the nutmeg and lastly the warm milk. Allow it to thicken and then remove from the heat, season and stir in the egg yolks. Pour over the other ingredients.

Bake uncovered at gas mark 5/375°F/190°C for about 50 minutes until the top is browning.

In his lecture ‘Paddy and the Potato’, Professor Kevin Whelan quoted a Kerry woman who settled in Philadelphia in the post-famine period and wrote of her adopted land: ‘There’s the best of beef there on china is [sic] plates/mighty mutton and Cuban gin/And isn’t that much better grub/than to be stuck in Ireland on the lumper spud.’

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