A comfort food classic, this Greek casserole is really delicious the day after, and believe it or not, it’s great straight out of the fridge for breakfast. Don't ask us how we know this, but if you like cold pizza, you'll like cold moussaka.
Eggplant and Lamb
- 8 garlic cloves, finely grated, divided
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint, divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped oregano, divided
- 3 medium eggplants (about 3½ pounds total), sliced crosswise into ½-inch-thick rounds
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
- 2 Fresno chiles, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
Béchamel and Assembly
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2½ cups whole milk, warmed
- 4 ounces farmer cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 2 ounces Pecorino or Parmesan, finely grated (about 1¾ cups), divided
- 3 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
Eggplant and Lamb
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 475°. Whisk half of the garlic, ½ cup oil, 1 Tbsp. mint, and 1 Tbsp. oregano in a small bowl. Brush both sides of eggplant rounds with herb oil, making sure to get all the herbs and garlic onto eggplant; season with salt and pepper. Transfer eggplant to a rimmed baking sheet (it’s okay to pile the rounds on top of each other) and roast until tender and browned, 35–45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400°.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large wide pot over high. Cook lamb, breaking up with a spoon, until browned on all sides and cooked through and liquid from meat is evaporated (there will be a lot of rendered fat), 12–16 minutes. Strain fat through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean small bowl and transfer lamb to a medium bowl. Reserve 3 Tbsp. lamb fat; discard remaining fat.
Heat 2 Tbsp. lamb fat in same pot over medium-high (reserve remaining 1 Tbsp. lamb fat for assembling the moussaka). Add onion, cinnamon, 2½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and translucent, 8–10 minutes. Add chiles and remaining garlic and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and tomato paste and cook until brick red in color, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and no longer smells of alcohol, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon into small pieces (the seeds will shoot out at you if you’re too aggressive, so start slowly—puncture the tomato, then get your smash and break on!). Add lamb and remaining 1 Tbsp. mint and 1 Tbsp. oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated and mixture looks like a thick meat sauce, 5–7 minutes. Pluck out and discard cinnamon stick.
Béchamel and Assembly
Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium until foaming. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in warm milk and bring sauce to a boil. Cook béchamel, whisking often, until very thick (it should have the consistency of pudding), about 5 minutes; stir in salt. Remove from heat and whisk in farmer cheese and half of the Pecorino. Let sit 10 minutes for cheese to melt, then add egg yolks and vigorously whisk until combined and béchamel is golden yellow.
Brush a 13x9" baking pan with remaining 1 Tbsp. lamb fat. Layer half of eggplant in pan, covering the bottom entirely. Spread half of lamb mixture over eggplant in an even layer. Repeat with remaining eggplant and lamb to make another layer of each. Top with béchamel and smooth surface; sprinkle with remaining Pecorino.
Bake moussaka until bubbling vigorously and béchamel is browned in spots, 30–45 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.
Do Ahead: Moussaka can be baked 1 day ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating in a 250° oven until warmed through, about 1 hour.
- 1 (1 pound) eggplant, peeled (if desired) and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- ½ pound lean ground beef or ground lamb
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce with basil, garlic, and oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground pepper
- ½ cup fat-free milk
- ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
- ½ cup light ricotta cheese
- ⅓ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a very large nonstick skillet with cooking spray heat over medium-high heat. Add eggplant cook about 6 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook ground beef (or lamb) in a large skillet until browned. Drain off fat. Stir in tomato sauce and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. Bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Divide the meat mixture among four individual 12- to 14-ounce au gratin or baking dishes. Top with the eggplant.
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add milk and yogurt all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly remove from heat. Stir in ricotta cheese. Stir in egg product. Spoon atop the eggplant and sprinkle lightly with additional ground cinnamon.
Bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until heated through. Top with Parmesan, if desired. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
- Meat sauce
- 2 pounds ground lamb or beef
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or more to taste
- Salt to taste
- Bechamel sauce
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- To assemble
- 3 large globe eggplants
- 1/2 cup salt
- 8 cups water
- 2-3 Yukon gold or other yellow potatoes
- 1 cup grated mizithra (or pecorino or Parmesan) cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
Prepare the meat sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and brown the ground meat. By the way, the meat will brown best if you don't stir it.
Add the onions about halfway into the browning process. Sprinkle salt over the meat and onions.
Once the meat is browned and the onions have softened, add the garlic, allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, oregano and tomato paste. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the red wine and mix well. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat, and continue to simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Season with salt to taste.
Mix well and taste. If the sauce needs more acidity, add more lemon juice.
Prepare the potatoes and eggplants:
Mix the 1/2 cup salt with the 8 cups of water in a large pot or container. This will be the brine for the eggplants.
Slice the top and bottom off the eggplants. Cut thick strips of the skin off the eggplants to give them a striped appearance.
A little skin on the eggplant is good for texture, but leaving it all on makes the moussaka hard to cut later, and can add bitterness, which you don’t want. (Some moussaka recipes leave the skin on and have you slice the eggplants lengthwise, which is an option if you prefer.)
Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds and drop them into the brine.
Let the eggplants sit in the brine 15-20 minutes, then remove them to a series of paper towels to dry.
Place a paper towel on the counter, layer some eggplant on it, then cover with more paper towels and repeat.
As the eggplants are brining, peel and slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds. Boil them in salted water for 5-8 minutes – you want them undercooked, but no longer crunchy. Drain and set aside.
To cook the eggplant, broil or grill the rounds. You could also fry the eggplant rounds but they tend to absorb a lot of oil that way.
To grill the eggplant rounds, get a grill very hot and close the lid. Paint one side of the eggplant rounds with olive oil and grill 2-3 minutes. When they are done on one side, paint the other side with oil and flip. When the eggplants are nicely grilled, set aside.
To broil, line a broiling pan or roasting pan with aluminum foil. Paint with olive oil. Place the eggplant rounds on the foil and brush with olive oil. Broil for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned on one side, then flip them over and broil for a few minutes more. Set aside.
Prepare the béchamel:
Heat the milk in a medium saucepan on medium heat until steamy. Do not let simmer.
Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has completely melted, slowly whisk in the flour. Let this roux simmer over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Do not let it get too dark.
Little by little, pour the steamy milk into the roux, stirring constantly. It will set up and thicken dramatically at first, but keep adding milk and stirring the sauce will loosen. Raise the heat to medium. Add the nutmeg and about a teaspoon of salt. Stir well.
Put the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk to combine. Temper the eggs so they don’t scramble when you put them into the sauce. Using two hands, one with a whisk, the other with a ladle, slowly pour in a couple ladles of hot béchamel into the eggs, whisking all the time.
Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the béchamel while whisking. Keep the sauce on very low heat do not let simmer or boil.
Finish the moussaka:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Layer a casserole with the potatoes, overlapping slightly. Top the layer of potatoes with a layer of eggplant slices (use just half of the slices).
Cover the layer of potatoes and eggplant with the meat sauce. Then add the remaining eggplant slices on top of the meat sauce.
Sprinkle half the cheese on top. Ladle the béchamel over everything in an even layer. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
If you are looking for a vegan alternative to the meaty Greek moussaka, you came to the right place! Below we&aposll show you how to make Lebanese moussaka, a vegan alternative to the meat-based Greek recipe. We made this recipe with only plant-based ingredients — no dairy and no meat!
Moussaka is a staple recipe in Greece and the Middle East. Greek moussaka is the most common recipe found across the US and Europe, made by layering aubergines, tomato sauce, and ground beef like you would with lasagna.
Instead of using mince, the Lebanese moussaka (AKA Maghmour) opts for the ever-popular and vegan-friendly chickpeas. Imagine a casserole filled with layers of juicy aubergines, caramelised onions, and soft chickpeas, all smothered in a Levantine-spiced tomato sauce. Steaming and hot, straight out of the oven. Who needs meat, right?
There are three reasons why meatless moussaka is amazing:
You get no bad cholesterol and a fraction of the fats and calories.
The lack of animal products means you can store the dish for longer in the fridge, up to seven days. Therefore, you can make a big batch and sort out your lunch and dinners for days.
The ingredients are super easy to find. You probably already have almost everything you need in your pantry.
Another great thing about Lebanese eggplant moussaka, is that it&aposs good both hot and cold. So you can easily pack it in a lunch-box. And what a lunch it would be! A generous portion has only 225 calories, 8% RDI of fats, but 21% RDI of proteins. Plus all the wonderful vitamins and minerals you get from the aubergines, tomatoes, and chickpeas. You can cover 3 out of your five-a-day of veggies in a single swoop. Now, that&aposs what we call a healthy dish!
Did we strike your fancy? Then jump right into the recipe below, and let&aposs have fun preparing this marvellous Arabic eggplant dish together!
- Butter, for baking dish
- 1 large eggplant (2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (9 ounces) ricotta cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (4 ounces) feta cheese, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a 4-quart ovenproof dish. On a baking sheet, toss eggplant with 6 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer, and roast in the oven until soft and golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer eggplant to prepared dish, spreading in an even layer.
In a large saucepan, warm remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ground meat cook, stirring to prevent sticking, until meat is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in drained tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Simmer, crushing tomatoes with the edge of a spoon, 15 minutes. Spread the mixture evenly over the eggplant.
Heat broiler. In a small bowl, mix ricotta, feta, egg, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of salt. Pour mixture over the casserole, and spread evenly to the edges. Broil until topping is browned in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.
- 6 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 15-ounce can)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Heat the broiler. In a large stainless-steel frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the lamb and cook until the meat loses its pink color, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine, tomato paste, tomatoes, bay leaf, cinnamon, allspice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the remaining 5 tablespoons oil and season with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Put the eggplant slices on a large baking sheet and broil, 6 inches from the heat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and broil until browned on the other side, about 5 minutes longer.
In a small saucepan, combine the cream cheese, milk, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Warm over low heat until just melted.
Oil an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Layer half the eggplant in the dish, then half the meat sauce. Sprinkle with half the Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, meat sauce, and Parmesan. Spoon the cream-cheese sauce on top broil until just starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
My Cheat-Sheet Bechamel Cream
There are basically two reasons why this Moussaka is liked by everyone. It’s not too heavy because it has the most amazing and light Bechamel cream.
I had to cheat a bit in order to make it super light though. Traditionally, when making Bechamel cream you start by cooking the butter, along with flour to create what the French call a “roux”.
This is the thickening base for a bechamel sauce and some other sauces as well. You then add the milk and cook until thickened. Whisk in the eggs once the cream is thickened and removed from heat. Some cheese and some even add an extra piece of butter at the end (my stomach hurts only at the thought of it).
The Authentic French recipe for a Bechamel sauce calls for clarified butter. Meaning the butter that’s separated from its milk content. That’s because milk gets burned when making the “roux” (the base) resulting in a heavy, burned milk flavor. Therefore a heavier cream. Also, it makes the cream more prone to form lumps as the texture of the base is denser.
So, since clarified butter is basically just the fat, and since you and I aren’t going to go into all that fuss of setting a ben-marrie and wait for the butter to get clarified (not to mention “wasting it” because hey what are you going to do with its milk content?) I decided that the best thing is to use a light and neutral vegetable oil like sunflower oil instead.
This way you skip the burned butter flavor, it gives a light, shiny and refined texture to the cream, and minimizes the possibilities of making a lumpy cream down to 10% (you really have to try hard for that).
TIP: -The milk should be either warm or at room temperature to use in the cream. Again this helps to prevent a lumpy cream.
Great quick recipe. Added 1 tsp minced garlic, salt and pepper to the meat, and a little extra oregano just ɼuz. Worked great for me. The Man loved it. (He requested it.) I generally hate moussaka (and most eggplant dishes) Not only did I think that this was pretty good, but I'm making it again two weeks later.
This was very good but like most people, I enhanced this mild dish. Used ground lamb instead. Also added garlic to the onions while browning the meat not to mention seasoning at that time with your favorite salt and freshly ground pepper. Very important while you are making the sauce to make sure you really incorporate slowly to the eggs, the sauce very slowly so you don't end up with scrambled eggs. A great flavor enhancer is to also throw in a bay leaf and a few grates of nutmeg to the milk sauce (bechamel). Take out bay leaf before topping the casserole the bechamel. Completely unnecessary to cook eggplant first. This dish is a hit.
Comfort food! Very delicious. Used ground turkey, diced fresh plum tomatoes and baby eggplant cut in half. Sprinkled eggplant with Penzy's Greek spice. Added anise frond with seeds to cook in the meat mixture with fresh oregano and parsley.
Too many cooks don't spoil the broth, but rather make a good moussaka recipe amazing! Yes to the garlic with the beef and onions, instead of tomato sauce I used diced tomatoes and their juices, yes to sweating the eggplant, yes to the Pernod instead of wine, and yes to the goat cheese, but I added it to the bechamel instead of to the top of the custard. The custard texture was *perfect*, and the beef was exactly juicy but not soppy. I erred on the side of slicing my (peeled) eggplant too thin -- it got lost in the layering, but oh well. Still tasty -- I made it with the point of leftovers, and well, you can probably guess the rest. :-)
I made two basic changes to this recipe that make it OUT OF THIS WORLD WONDERFUL! Instead of wine, use any anise-flavored liquor (such as Pernod or Sambucca). Secondly, replace some of the Parmesan cheese in the custard topping with crumbled goat cheese. With these changes in the recipe, I won First Place in our local (very competitive) culinary club's competition. Try this! You'll love it!!
Fast and excellent. I used Japanese eggplants--comes out nice and tender.
I love moussaka normally but found this a little on the dull side. I think next time Iɽ use more eggplant, switch to lamb or a lamb/beef mix, spice up the bechamel a bit, and maybe throw in some tomatoes or greens or SOMETHING. As it stands, it's pretty good but didn't knock my socks off. Easy to put together. Preroasting the eggplant is definitely worth it.
This is a great recipe because of not frying the eggplant in oil first, but I made changes, for instance, using lamb. I used organic ground lamb - makes a difference as it is less fatty. I used canned diced Muir Glen tomatoes and added more garlic to the meat sauce, added nutmeg to the bechamel. As to the proportions, I used my judgement when it came to assembling the dish. I sweated the eggplant with salt and paper towels, then sprayed with Pam and baked for 15 minutes. This dish came out great - a lighter moussaka, really delicious and not oily or greasy. Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/notes/Shortcut-Moussaka-1432#ixzz12fA7mzgl
Added a little garlic to meat as suggested by other reviewers. You can up the custard to 1.5x or 2x for better balance. 3 layers instead of 4 cooks the eggplant better (eggplant on bottom)and I also cooked the first 2 layers for 20 min before adding custard (then 40 min covered, no additional 10 min- it was browned/cooked perfectly- convection oven) in order to avoid pre-baking eggplant and to ensure custard turned out fluffy.
This recipe was fabulous! My husband and I couldn't stop eating it! As with a couple of the other reviewers I added 2 cloves of garlic to the ground beef and baked the eggplant in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 first. I did not peel it. I also omitted the red wine.
Iɽ actually give this less than a fork - It was so bland & disappointing. I threw out the whole pan, since no one would eat it. I really like Moussaka, but this left alot to be desired. What a waste of good ingrediants.
Straightforward and relatively fast. Delicious outcome. All in all a fabulous recipe. Worthwhile incorporating other reviewers suggestions - adding garlic, sweating the eggplant and baking it in oven 15 mins before assembling.
very good. Will make again. I used ground sirlon. Yum
This was pretty easy and very delicious. I was a little worried my kids would complain about the eggplant or spices since it's unique. Instead, they gobbled it up like it was candy! I did roast the eggplant first in the oven so it would cook through, other than that, it was a perfect recipe!
Very tasty. I would recommend using 93 percent lean beef, though, since it's very oily otherwise. I also added garlic to beef, per reviewers' advice. I also added cloves to beef and nutmeg to sauce. Overall, very, very rich. I have to admit I doubled the sauce and even though I used two eggplants, it was a lot of sauce. So good, but seems really, really rich. I used skim milk and it worked just fine, so that makes it lighter. Next time: I will use leaner beef and even more eggplant and perhaps won't double sauce. Oh, and I salted the eggplant and let it sit between paper towels in the fridge for an afternoon before cooking. I think it made a difference. My dish was not watery at all. Also: You really have to cook the beef mixture down. When you add the sauce and the wine, it's quite wet, but after cooking on medium-high, it's very dry and ready to bake. The only downside, as I said, is how rich it is. I think it's best made for a party when you won't be tempted to have more than a slice and there won't be leftovers in the fridge.
Used chicken instead of the beef, upped all the herbs and spices, and used a much lighter version of the sauce. It was good. Not as good as it probably would have been if I hadn't lightened it, but good!
I followed the advice of others and added a bit of garlic to the meat sauce I also salted/drained then par-baked the eggplant. The end product had a little too much moisture, so next time I will skim the fat off the meat sauce. Make sure to use a baking dish large enough to comfortably accommodate everything- I used a slightly smaller dish, which made for a tightly packed casserole and the bechamel didn't distribute through the layers as I would have hoped. Next time I'll leave the foil tent off longer to ensure a more golden brown crust!
Delicious. Used less oil. Added some garlic to the onions, and a little ground clove to sauce, as others recommended. Will make it again.
I think this is a very good "shortcut" moussaka recipe because it has all the basic flavours and ingredients of the more traditional version. I did make a few changes to enhance the flavour. I added a dash of nutmeg in the meat sauce and 3/4 c. diced sun- dried tomatoes, used only 2 eggs in the bechamel sauce to make it lighter, and used 1/3 c. grated Parmesan, and 2/3 c. of aged Reggiano. Because I really short on cook time, I sliced the eggplant thinly as usual, but saute them lightly in a little olive oil with a bit of salt while the meat sauce was simmering. I assembled the dish using only one layer of each in a large casserole dish and baked uncovered for 35 minutes. It was declared very good.
I have never made moussaka before until now. This is a great recipe. I took the advice from others and placed the eggplant in the oven for 15 minutes after salting and sprinkling the slices with olive oil, and cut the overall cooking time by 15. I also used 1 lb. of ground bison instead of beef, and halved the wine and parsley. This recipe took some time to prepare, but it was worth it. I will certainly make it again.
This was light and yummy. My husband has been asking for Moussaka for years, but I hesitated to make it I don't like greasy foods. WELL, we omitted the olive oil completely, and added 2 heads of garlic to the meat mixture. We did bake the eggplant first, as suggested by others, and we used Italian Eggplant which is supposed to be more dense than standard eggplant. The result was delicious. Next time we will try it with lamb which wasn't available at the grocer today.
I sliced the eggplant, sprayed it with PAM, placed it on a rimmed baking sheet in a 350 oven for 15 minutes. This guarantees the eggplant will be fully cooked when served and MUCH better. The meat sauce needs some salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves. Great casserole to accompany a Greek dinner or alone. My guests ate every bite, and I was hoping for leftovers.
Like others, I would call this a good basis for a moussaka. It does need a little spicing up. I use all ground lamb instead of beef and brown and drain the fat off first. Then I saute the onions and some garlic in the olive oil and add the drained browned lamb back in. I double (at least) the cinnamon, add some allspice, currants and toasted pine nuts to the meat in addition to the listed ingredients. All in all, it's fabulous. The raw, unpeeled eggplant works fine, and the parmesan sauce is great.
I have been using this recipe for a couple of years now and I just had to let other users know how great it is. All 3 of my children request it regularly! I don't change a thing and it is always a family hit.
It was a hit after i doctored it up!! LOVED IT however it needed some work (very bland!) so added the following which really kicked up the flavor and it got RAVE REVIEWS from my guests. Balsamic vinegar, worsteshire sauce and granulated garlic, salt, lots of pepper was added to sauce. also chopped up alot of other veggies into the meat sauce (green peppers,brocoli,mushrooms, extra onion)Added MORE cheese (mixed the parmesan w sharp cheddar also) and this now flavorful dish was a HIT. WILL DEFINITELY put it on my favorites list now!
Traditional Moussaka Recipe
This is the traditional moussaka recipe, made with lightly fried eggplants, minced meat and white sauce. Try it, don’t be intimidated by the recipe. Follow the steps and nothing can go wrong.
Wash the eggplants, and slice them rather thinly (about 1 millimeter.) Place them in a bowl with water where you have added about three T salt and leave them for 30 minutes. Strain them and squeeze them to remove excess water. This helps them to absorb less oil when fried as well as remove any bitterness.
In the meantime, add 2 – 3 tablespoonfuls of oil in a deep frying pan and brown the minced meat stirring and breaking up the lumps of meat until there is no pink colour. Add the onions and continue cooking for about 5 minutes longer at which point you add the garlic. Stir the mixture well and let it cook for a couple of minutes longer.
Add the wine to the pan and allow it to evaporate. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste diluted in a cup of water, the allspice and the parsley. Let the mixture boil for a few minutes and taste. Taste the sauce and if it is a bit sour, add the sugar or the ketchup. If it tastes all right, you needn’t add them. Turn the heat down and let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes to reduce the liquid somewhat. However, the mixture must not be completely dry. There must be a certain amount of sauce, about two cups so that the moussaka is juicy. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the oregano if used. Taste and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat and leave aside.
Put enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan. Pat the eggplant slices dry and when the oil is hot you start frying them. When they brown on the one side you turn them over and when they brown on the other side as well, you remove them from the pan and place them on kitchen paper to absorb the extra oil. You can add more oil in the pan if needed as you go along, until you have fried all the eggplant slices.
At this stage, if you don’t have enough time to finish the dish, you may put the minced meat and the fried eggplants in separate containers and keep them in the fridge, finishing the recipe the next day. Or you may very well freeze them, and use them at a later date.
Béchamel (White) Sauce
Place the margarine in a pot and melt it at a low temperature. Do not boil. When it is melted, add the flour and stir continuously until the margarine has been absorbed. Warm up the milk and begin adding it a little at a time, beating well after each addition, so that there are no lumps. Take the pot off the heat. Beat the egg yolks (that you have separated from the whites) and add them to the mixture beating well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The sauce shouldn’t be too thick or too runny. If it is too thick, add some milk or water. If too runny, you should let it simmer at very low heat for a bit longer stirring the mixture every now and then, so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If you are in a hurry you can add some more flour, sprinkling it with a strainer so that you don’t get any lumps, and stir. Always taste to check the salt before assembling the moussaka.
Assembling the moussaka
Take a pan about 28 x 36 centimeters (11 x 14 inches). Spread a very thin layer of bread crumbs at the bottom. You could oil the pan with a brush, so the right amount of crumbs will stick there. Place the eggplant slices, the one next to the other until the crumbs are covered. Then spread the minced meat mixture over the eggplant. Sprinkle a couple of handfuls of grated cheese over the minced-meat. Now place the rest of the eggplant slices over the meat mixture, covering it completely. Again you can sprinkle a handful or two of grated cheese. And last, spread the béchamel sauce over the eggplant, and sprinkle grated cheese and some breadcrumbs on top.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170oC (340o F) for about 50 minutes, until cooked through and the top is golden brown.
Take the pan out of the oven and let it rest and cool down for one hour more or less. Then you cut it in squares. This pan will give you 12 large squares.
Put the lamb, onion, garlic, oregano, mint, bay and cinnamon in a large heavy-based frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat.
Stir in the flour and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the wine, tomatoes and tomato purée and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened. Season again if needed and set aside.
Meanwhile, place the aubergine slices in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Rinse the aubergine slices under cold running water and pat dry with a clean tea towel. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan and fry the aubergines for 2–3 minutes on each side, adding more oil when necessary. Remove from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.
Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain in a colander under running water until cold.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few seconds, then gradually stir in the milk. Add half the Parmesan and the grated nutmeg. Simmer the sauce gently for 4–5 minutes, stirring regularly. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool. When cooled, stir in the egg.
Spoon one-third of the meat sauce into a shallow ovenproof dish large enough to hold 2.5 litres/4½ pints. Cover loosely with a third of the potatoes and then a third of the aubergines – you don't need complete layers, just to arrange them roughly on top. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with the aubergines. Pour over the white sauce, making sure it covers everything in a thick, even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 35–45 minutes, or until deep golden brown and bubbling.
You can make this dish ahead and keep assembled in the fridge for 24 hours.