Vegetarian Moussaka

A Sudanese recipe from Sarah Brown's "Vegetarian Kitchen."

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz (50g) green or brown lentils
  • 1 pint (570ml) water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (I used a lot more!)
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed (I used a lot more!)
  • 1/4 lb (110g) mushrooms, wiped and chopped
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz (350g) or 2 medium aubergines, washed and sliced
  • 2 potatoes, scrubbed, boiled and sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, washed and thickly sliced

and for the sauce:

  • 3/4 oz (20g) butter (I misread this as 3 oz, it was delicious)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 8 fl oz (225ml) milk
  • 1 small egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder (I used whole grain mustard)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 oz (75 g) grated cheddar cheese

 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350 F (180 C)

Serves 4.

Pick over the lentils for sticks and stones, wash them thoroughly, then bring to the boil in the water. Cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until they are soft. When they are cooked, drain and reserve the liquid for stock.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying-pan and fry the onion and garlic gently so that they remain translucent. Then add the chopped mushrooms and cooked lentils and cook for a further few minutes, mixing well. Remove the vegetables from the pan using a slotted spoon so that as much oil as possible is left in the frying-pan.

Put the vegetables into a bowl and mix in a little stock, 2-3 tablespoons of tomato puree and the oregano. Season well with nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the frying-pan and fry the aubergine slices until soft, turning them over constantly. (You may need a little extra oil for this.) Put the slices onto a piece of kitchen paper to drain and let them cool.

Grease a 3 pint (1.75 litre) ovenproof dish and put in a layer of lentil and mushroom mixture, then a layer of aubergines, then of potato and tomato slices.

Next make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook the roux for 2-3 minutes. Pour on the milk and bring the sauce to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes and then allow to cool. Beat in the egg and season the sauce well with mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the sauce over the top of the casserole and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Bake for 40 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Serve piping hot.