posted by jewel 10-12-100 11:57 AM


2 kilos large aubergines (eggplant)
bay leaf
2 kilos potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

Meat Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 kilo ground beef or lamb
1 large onion, chopped
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 cups of crushed tomatoes

Béchamel Sauce:
2 tbs. butter
2 tbl. flour
1/2 liter of milk
salt and pepper
nutmeg (optional)
grated cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the aubergines into thin slices - I don't remove the purple peel, but you can if you like. Salt them and leave them to drain. Peel and cut the potatoes into thin slices. Weight them down in a bowl of salted water with an inverted plate.

Pour oil into a frying pan and fry the aubergines on one side and then on the other. You want them evenly brown. Drain your potato slices, and fry them after the aubergines. Remove the fried veggies to a paper towel lined pan. You want to drain off as much oil as possible.

While the veggies are draining, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a pot. Brown your ground beef with the garlic and onions. Add your tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for about 20 minutes.

Now lets get ready to assemble the thing. Take a large pan, make sure it fits your oven, and is at least 3 inches deep. Line the bottom of it with a layer of potatoes. Next, add a layer of aubergines, and top it with half of the sauce. Now, do it again. That's potatoes, aubergines and sauce. You should have a good looking casserole.

Now for the crowning touch, the Béchamel Sauce. You have to make what's called a roux. Melt the butter in a pot. Add the flour and mix constantly with a wire whisk. It will look like bubbling cake batter (roux). Add some salt and pepper, and a dash of nutmeg, if you desire. Add the milk, and remember, you have to keep whisking constantly while cooking until the sauce thickens. Pour it over the casserole and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until the top crust has browned.

Note: For a real time saver, if you have a deep fryer, plug it in and fry the potato slices while the aubergines are doing their thing. I don't recommend using it for the aubergines though, as they soak up too much oil.

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