Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish that consists of layers of eggplant, minced lamb, tomato sauce, and béchamel sauce. It’s a hearty and delicious meal that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Mary Berry, the famous British baker and cookbook author, has her own version of moussaka that is easy to make and full of flavor.
In this article, I’ll show you how to make Mary Berry lamb moussaka step by step, with tips and tricks to ensure a perfect result.
What is Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka?
Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka is a delicious and satisfying dish that is inspired by the traditional Greek moussaka. It consists of layers of eggplant, minced lamb, tomato sauce, and béchamel sauce, baked in the oven until golden and bubbly. Mary Berry, the famous British baker and cookbook author, has her own version of moussaka that is easy to make and full of flavor. She uses lean minced lamb, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, chicken stock, butter, flour, milk, nutmeg, cheddar cheese, and parmesan cheese to create this mouthwatering dish.
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Why You Love this Recipe
Mary Berry’s Lamb Moussaka is a recipe that wins hearts for several reasons:
- Family-Friendly: It’s a warm and hearty meal that appeals to all age groups, perfect for family dinners.
- Resourceful Cooking: Ideal for utilizing leftover lamb, it’s an excellent way to repurpose and elevate leftover meats.
- Convenience: This dish is straightforward to prepare. Plus, it can be made ahead of time and frozen, easing meal prep during busy weeks.
- Nutritional Value: Packed with protein, iron, calcium, and fiber, it’s not just tasty but also contributes to a balanced diet.
- Customizable: The recipe allows for adaptability to suit personal tastes, making it a versatile option for various palates.
Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka
To make Mary Berry lamb moussaka, you’ll need the following ingredients:
For the lamb layer:
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 500 g of lean minced lamb
- 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 400 g of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
- 150 ml of chicken stock
For the eggplant layer:
- 2 large eggplants, sliced
- Salt, to draw out the moisture
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
For the béchamel layer:
- 50 g of butter
- 50 g of plain flour
- 600 ml of milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- A pinch of grated nutmeg
- 75 g of grated cheddar cheese
- 25 g of grated parmesan cheese
Instructions to Make Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka
Follow these steps to make Mary Berry lamb moussaka:
Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the dish
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) and grease a 2-liter ovenproof dish. You can use butter, oil, or cooking spray to grease the dish.
- Set the dish aside while you prepare the other layers.
Step 2: Make the lamb layer
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden.
- Add the lamb and cook for another 15 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
- Stir in the oregano, cinnamon, salt, pepper, tomatoes, tomato purée, and stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.
- Transfer the lamb mixture to a bowl and keep it warm.
Step 3: Make the eggplant layer
- Sprinkle some salt over the eggplant slices and leave them in a colander for 30 minutes, to draw out the bitter juices. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
- Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with oil and arrange them in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until soft and golden. Set aside.
Step 4: Make the béchamel layer
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to make a roux.
- Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring well to avoid lumps. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth and thick.
- Stir in half of the cheddar cheese and all of the parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 5: Assemble the moussaka
- Spread half of the lamb mixture over the bottom of the prepared dish. Cover with half of the eggplant slices, overlapping them slightly. Repeat with the remaining lamb and eggplant.
- Pour the béchamel sauce over the top and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the sauce.
Step 6: Bake and serve the moussaka
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden.
- Let the moussaka rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy with a green salad or some crusty bread.
What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka?
While Mary Berry’s Lamb Moussaka is a complete meal in itself, pairing it with the right sides can enhance the dining experience:
- Fresh Green Salad: A simple green salad dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper offers a light and refreshing contrast to the rich moussaka.
- Bread Varieties: Serve with crusty bread or warm pita to complement the textures and absorb the delightful sauce.
- Creamy Tzatziki or Yogurt: A dollop of tzatziki sauce or plain yogurt adds a creamy element, balancing the robust flavors of the moussaka.
- Vegetable Accompaniments: Roasted or steamed vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or zucchini add color and nutrition to the meal.
- Sweet Finale: Conclude with a light dessert, such as fresh fruit or a slice of baklava, for a complete gastronomic experience.
Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka
Achieving the ideal Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka can be ensured with these expert tips:
- Efficient Fat Management: After cooking the lamb, thoroughly drain any excess fat. This step is crucial to prevent the moussaka from becoming overly greasy.
- Eggplant Preparation: Salt the eggplant slices and set them aside for 30 minutes in a colander. This process draws out bitterness and excess moisture, ensuring the eggplant doesn’t turn soggy.
- Healthier Eggplant Cooking: Opt for baking the eggplant slices brushed with oil, rather than frying. This method not only cuts down on calories but also brings out a richer flavor in the eggplant.
- Béchamel Sauce Perfection: Use a whisk while preparing the béchamel sauce to prevent any lumps. A smooth, thick consistency is key to the dish’s texture.
- Cheesy Delight: Incorporate a generous amount of cheese into the béchamel sauce for a richer taste. Additionally, sprinkle cheese on top for a beautifully golden and crispy crust.
- Resting Time: Allow the moussaka to rest for about 10 minutes before serving. This pause helps the layers to settle and the flavors to integrate more deeply.
Variations of Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka
Personalize the Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka with these inventive variations:
- Protein Alternatives: Substitute the lamb with beef, turkey, or a vegetarian mince for a different flavor profile or dietary preference.
- Vegetable Variations: Experiment with other vegetables like zucchini, potatoes, or mushrooms in place of eggplant to vary the texture and taste.
- Herbal Enhancements: Add fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, or basil to the lamb mixture for an additional burst of freshness and flavor.
- Time-Saving Béchamel: For those short on time, opt for a quality ready-made béchamel or cheese sauce mix. Simply follow the instructions and enrich it with some added cheese.
How do I store Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka Leftovers?
If you have any leftovers of Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka, you can store them in the following ways:
- In the fridge: Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the microwave or the oven before serving.
- In the freezer: Wrap the leftovers well in foil and label them. Freeze them for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw them overnight in the fridge and bake them in a preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
How do I reheat Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka Leftovers?
To reheat Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka leftovers, you can use either of these methods:
- In the microwave: Cut the leftovers into individual portions and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Cover them with a damp paper towel and microwave them for 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through. Check and stir them halfway through and adjust the time as needed.
- In the oven: Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and place the leftovers in an ovenproof dish. Cover them with foil and bake them for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil and bake them for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.
Nutrition value per serving (based on 6 servings):
- Calories: 545 kcal
- Fat: 33 g
- Carbohydrates: 32 g
- Protein: 34 g
- Fiber: 7 g
- Sugar: 14 g
- Sodium: 508 mg
- Calcium: 362 mg
- Iron: 4 mg
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Can I Make Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can prepare Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka ahead of time. Assemble the dish, cover it, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can freeze the assembled, unbaked moussaka for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, bake it directly from the fridge or after thawing overnight in the refrigerator. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time if cooking from cold.
Is There a Dairy-Free Alternative for the Béchamel Sauce in the Recipe
Yes, for a dairy-free version of the béchamel sauce, you can use plant-based milk such as almond or soy milk and a dairy-free butter alternative. Be mindful that the consistency and flavor might slightly differ from the traditional béchamel sauce. For the cheese, use a dairy-free cheese substitute that melts well.
How Can I Make Mary Berry Lamb Moussaka More Suitable for a Low-Carb Diet?
To adapt Mary Berry’s Lamb Moussaka for a low-carb diet, you can replace the eggplant with slices of zucchini, which have a lower carbohydrate content. For the béchamel sauce, consider using a thickener like xanthan gum instead of flour and a low-carb milk alternative. This modification will reduce the overall carbohydrate content of the dish while still keeping it delicious and satisfying.
Why is my moussaka watery?
There are a few possible reasons why your moussaka might be watery. One is that the eggplant slices were not salted and drained properly, which can cause them to release excess moisture during baking. Another is that the lamb mixture or the béchamel sauce was too thin or runny, which can make the layers soggy. To prevent this, make sure to salt and drain the eggplant slices well, cook the lamb mixture until slightly thickened, and whisk the béchamel sauce until smooth and thick.
Mary Berry lamb moussaka is a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for a cozy family dinner or a special occasion. It’s easy to make and can be prepared in advance and frozen for later. It’s a great way to enjoy the flavors of Greece in your own kitchen. Try it today and let me know what you think!