Moussaka sans meat

I’ve recently taken to a semi-vegetarian diet; no meat but a bit of fish. In search of new meals to replace all those meat based dinners I came across a vegetarian moussaka in The Foods of Israel Today  and with a little adaption I ended up with this:

2-3 Aubergines. Obviously you may need more of less depending on what size of aubergines you have available. You need enough slices to make 3 layers in your baking dish.
A medium onion
2 large garlic cloves (or several small ones)
A 400g tin of peeled cherry tomatoes (or skinned fresh tomatoes if you happen to live somewhere sunny)
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
A tin of black olives or whatever olives you have available. Best they are stoned.
2 or 3 large open cup mushrooms
Olive oil
25g plain flour
25g butter
280ml milk (1/2 pint)
100g Mature cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like to melt)
teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 egg
50g breadcrumbs

First get the tomato sauce on. Heat some oil in a wide pan and add finely chopped onion. Fry for a few minutes then add the sliced mushrooms and crushed garlic cloves. Cook on a medium heat until the mushrooms have reduced and the onions are softened. Add the tomatoes, olives and puree, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper, and simmer for about half an hour with a lid slightly ajar. You want it to reduce a bit but you’ll need enough sauce to make two layers of your baking dish.

Now slice the aubergines into rounds no more than 1cm think. (Many recipes suggest salting and leaving aubergines to drain for an hour or so but I can’t tell what difference this makes so I don’t bother). Fry the aubergines in a wide pan in olive oil. You’ll need to do them in batches unless you have an enormous pan. They will soak up a lot of oil so keep refreshing the oil. Alternatively, if you have a deep fat frier you could deep fry them. When each slice is softened and slightly coloured set it aside.

Make a white sauce. Put the flour and butter in a pan and set on a medium heat. Add the milk and whisk continuously until it boils and thickens. Add the mustard and half the cheese and a good grating of nutmeg (maybe 1/4 teaspoon)

Spread the breadcrumbs in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. The dish I used is about 30x18cm and about 5cm deep.
Put a layer of the fried aubergines on top of the breadcrumbs and spread about half the tomato sauce on top of them and sprinkle of oregano. Then add another layer of aubergines followed by the rest of the tomato sauce and more oregano. Then add a final layer of aubergine.

Separate the egg and stir the yolk into the cheese sauce and pour over the top of the aubergines. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake at 180-200c for about 45 mins.

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