10g dried mushrooms
2/3 cups (100g) plain flour
2 medium eggplants cut into 8mm thick slices
extra virgin olive oil
1 x onion, 1 x carrot and 1 x celery stalk
140g tomato paste
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
Small Bunch of oregano
2 x Tins tomatoes
To taste – dried chilli flakes, paprika and ground coriander
Halloumi bechamel sauce
60g salted butter
Nutmeg to taste
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, cover with 1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water and set aside.
Place flour on a plate and season. Dust eggplant slices in flour, shaking off excess. Heat 1cm oil in a large frypan over medium heat. In batches, fry eggplant, turning once, for 3-4 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a second frypan and add onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. Add tomato paste, garlic, fresh mushrooms and half oregano, and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes or until dark golden and cooked down. Add the dried mushrooms and soaking liquid, tomatoes, stock and spices, and cook for 25 minutes or until thick and reduced. Stir through butter and season.
For béchamel, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes to cook out flour. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until very smooth. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, halloumi and oregano. Season.
Arrange eggplant in a 2.5L baking dish and pour over mushroom sauce. Pour over béchamel. Cover with baking paper, then foil.
Bake for 1 hour or until cooked through. Remove foil and paper. Bake for a further 45 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Scatter with remaining oregano to serve.