Veg­e­tar­ian Mous­saka

Irish Sunday Mirror - - YOUR HEALTH -

Jane said: “Like many fam­i­lies we try to eat veg­gie some­times for health and cost rea­sons. Some of chil­dren are not so keen on all-veg­etable dishes, so melted cheese helps! This dish is so tasty they don’t com­plain about the lack of meat or fish.”

SERVES 6

20g dried porcini mush­rooms

2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 large gar­lic cloves, grated or finely chopped

2 ta­ble­spoons dried oregano or mixed herbs

1 cin­na­mon stick

1 medium aubergine, chopped into 1cm chunks

250g chest­nut mush­rooms, roughly chopped

1 large cour­gette, chopped into 1cm chunks

1 x 390g pack pas­sata

2 ta­ble­spoons tomato purée

500g white pota­toes (King Ed­ward or sim­i­lar)

1 x 400g can of chick­peas, drained

Sea salt and freshly ground black pep­per

FOR THE SAUCE

500ml semiskimmed milk, plus a lit­tle ex­tra to mix with the corn­flour

4–5 ta­ble­spoons corn­flour

150g ma­ture Ched­dar, grated, plus ex­tra for sprin­kling on top (op­tional)

A good grind of black pep­per

1 Put the dried porcini mush­rooms into a bowl and cover with 130ml boil­ing water.

2 Put the olive oil, onion, gar­lic, oregano, cin­na­mon stick, a good grind of pep­per and a pinch of salt into a large pan over a low heat and cook un­til the onions are soft­ened – it should take about 5 min­utes. Add the aubergines, chest­nut mush­rooms and cour­gettes to the pan, stir through and cook for a fur­ther 10 min­utes, or un­til the cour­gettes have started to soften.

3 Re­move the dried mush­rooms from the liq­uid – en­sur­ing you re­tain the liq­uid – then roughly chop the mush­rooms and stir into the veg­etable mix­ture. Once browned, stir in the pas­sata, tomato purée and the mush­room water and leave to sim­mer for 30 min­utes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally.

4 Mean­while peel and slice the pota­toes thinly to about the thick­ness of a £2 coin by hand or us­ing a man­do­line. If the slices are any thicker, you’ll have to cook the dish for slightly longer.

5 For the sauce, put the milk in a pan over a low heat and slowly bring to the boil. Mix the corn­flour with 2 ta­ble­spoons of milk un­til the con­sis­tency of dou­ble cream, en­sur­ing all the corn­flour is mixed in. Add the corn­flour mix­ture to the milk slowly, stir­ring con­tin­u­ously un­til the sauce is the con­sis­tency of a thick cus­tard. Re­move from the heat and im­me­di­ately stir in the grated Ched­dar and black pep­per.

7 Pre­heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/ Gas Mark 6.

8 Stir the drained chick­peas into the veg­eta­bles and con­tinue to sim­mer for around 15 min­utes, un­til the mix­ture is quite thick and most of the liq­uid has evap­o­rated. Add salt and pep­per to taste.

9 Spread half the veg­etable mix­ture over the bot­tom of the dish. Dig out and dis­card the cin­na­mon stick – no one needs a mouth­ful of that! Layer half the sliced pota­toes across the top of the mix­ture just as you would with sheets of lasagne.

10 Care­fully spoon over half the cheese mix­ture, spread­ing it un­til it cov­ers the potato evenly.

11 Re­peat the lay­er­ing process, be­ing care­ful to dis­trib­ute all the in­gre­di­ents evenly. The lay­ers shouldn’t be overly thick but there should be enough to give an even bite of each layer in ev­ery mouth­ful. Sprin­kle some more Ched­dar on top if de­sired.

12 Put into a pre­heated oven for 1 hour and cook un­til the pota­toes are soft and the top is browned.

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