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Mushroom Moussaka

Eggplant and mushrooms are a wonderful pairing and this is a great rendition of a vegetarian moussaka - as the mushrooms step in for the lamb. Can also serve as a filling side dish. I always like breadcrumbs sprinkled on top of the béchamel to give a little crunch and added flavour and texture. Recipe provided by Angela Woerlee.

Pictured: Mushroom Moussaka slice

1 eggplant (250g) cut into 1 cm slices
1 large potato, cut into 1 cm slices
30g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500g flat mushrooms, sliced
400g can chop tomatoes
½ tsp sugar

Béchamel Sauce -

40 g butter, extra
1/3 cup (40g) plain flour
2 cups (500ml) milk
1 egg lightly beaten
40g grated Parmesan

Optional for Béchamel Sauce - add a splash of sherry and a pinch or two of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to hot 220°C.
Line a large baking tray with foil and brush with oil. Put the eggplant and potato in a single layer on the tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, cook and stir for 3-4 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Increase the heat to high, add the mushrooms and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes, or until soft. Add the tomato, reduce the heat and simmer rapidly for 8 minutes, or until reduced. Stir in sugar.

Melt the extra butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, or until pale and foaming. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and stir constantly until it boils and thickens. Add the sherry and nutmeg at this point if using. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and, when the bubbles subside, stir in the egg and parmesan.

Reduce the oven to moderate 180 C.
Grease a shallow 1.5ltr oven-proof dish. Spoon one third of the mushroom mixture the base of the dish. Cover the potato and top with half the remaining mushrooms, then the eggplant. Finish with the remaining mushrooms, pour on the sauce and smooth the top. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the edges bubble. Leave for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 – 6