Moussaka is a casserole made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling then topping it off with a creamy bechamel sauce that is baked to golden perfection.
It is perhaps the most widely recognized of all Greek dishes and was made famous by the legendary Greek chef, Nicholas Tselementes.
This eggplant version is the traditional rendition, however you can also layer in potatoes, zucchini, or whatever vegetables you prefer. It’s hearty and filling so you won’t need many side dishes.
While it can be time consuming to prepare, I think you will find that once complete it is a very worthwhile endeavor.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
- 3-4 eggplants, about 4 lbs. total
- 2 lb. potatoes
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (or lamb)
- 2 large onions, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 cup tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes)
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups plain breadcrumbs
- 8 egg whites, lightly beaten (reserve yolks for bechamel)
- 1 cup grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese
- Bechamel Sauce:
- 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup flour
- 4 cups milk, warmed
- 8 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
Prep the Vegetables:
Using a sharp peeler, partially peel the eggplants, leaving strips of peel about 1 inch wide around the eggplant. Slice the eggplant in to 1/2 inch slices.
Place the eggplant slices in a colander and salt them liberally. The salt also helps to remove some of the bitterness of the eggplant.
Cover them with an inverted plate that is weighted down by a heavy can or jar.
Place the colander in the sink so that excess moisture can be drawn out.
They will need to sit for at least 15-20 minutes, preferably an hour.
Peel the potatoes and boil them whole until they are just done. They should not get too soft, just cooked enough so that they no longer crunch.
Drain, cool and slice them in 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Add a splash of water to the egg whites and beat them lightly with a fork. Add breadcrumbs to a flat plate.
Rinse the eggplant slices and dry with paper towels. Dip the eggplant slices in the beaten egg whites and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Place breaded eggplant slices on baking sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 an hour, turning them over once during cooking.
When eggplant is finished cooking, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Make the Meat Filling:
In a large sauté pan, brown the ground beef (or lamb) until the pink color disappears. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add wine to pan and allow it to simmer and reduce a bit before adding cinnamon, allspice, parsley, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and sugar. It should be a drier, chunkier, tomato sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered for approximately 15 minutes so that excess liquid can evaporate.
Make the Béchamel Sauce:
Melt butter over low heat. Using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste. Allow the flour to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.
Add warmed milk to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously.
Simmer over low heat until it thickens a bit but does not boil.
Remove from heat, and stir in beaten egg yolks and pinch of nutmeg. Return to heat and stir until sauce thickens.
Assemble the Moussaka:
Lightly grease a large deep baking pan (lasagna pan). Sprinkle the bottom of pan with breadcrumbs. Leaving a 1/4 inch space around the edges of the pan, place a layer of potatoes on the bottom.
Top with a layer of eggplant slices.
Add meat sauce on top of eggplant layer and sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated cheese.
Top with another layer of eggplant slices and sprinkle once again with 1/4 of the grated cheese.
Pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplant and be sure to allow sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan. Smooth the béchamel on top with a spatula and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until béchamel sauce is a nice golden brown color.
Allow to cool for 15 – 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
You can make this dish ahead up until the béchamel sauce and refrigerate. Make the béchamel sauce right before you intend to bake it.
I originally found this recipe at About.com Greek Food.
Ingredients (5 persons)
100 g room tempered butter
1 dl white sugar
2 room tempered egg
2 riped bananas
4 dl all purpose flour
0.75 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanillasugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
200 grams dark chocolate 70%
1. Whip tempered butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix well. Whip one and one egg into the buttercream.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a different bowl. Blend carefully the dry ingredients into the buttercream. Mash the bananas with a fork or a mixer depending on texture. Add banana and nicely chopped chocolate into the dough with a spatula.
3. Bake the cake on lower level of the oven for 180 Celcius degrees for 50-60 minutter. Cake will be a bit soft when warm, it has to cool to set. This bananacake will stay fresh for many days if you wrap it well and keep in fridge.
◾200 grams boiled black quinoa
◾400 grams All purpose flour
◾50 grams buckwheat flour
◾50 grams sunflower seeds
◾1 teaspoon yiest
◾1 teaspoon salt
◾4 dl water (1 1/4 cup)
Weigh all the ingredients. You can double and triple to recipe with great luck, just keep to the measurements.
If your quinoa is freshly cooked leave to raise for 60 minutes.
Use a spatula and scoop roll sized pieces of dough onto the cooking pan draped with baking paper . When you have 4×4 leave to raise for 30 minutes and cook for 12-15 minuts in 250 Celcius
After 30 minutes split the dough in rolls with a knife like under.
Pull the baking paper over to the now hot baking tray and lower temperature to 230Celcius degrees.
Cook for 12-15 min. Cool on a wire rack.
50 grams of Butter
2 table spoons of All Purpose Flour (Wheat or Glutenfree as suits you best)
1 table spoon Maizena (Corn Starch) mixed with water until a smooth blend
Broth (from the Greasy water below the Turkey)
How to Do
Melt the Butter and add the Flour. Stirr until it thickens.
Add the Maizena / Water mix.
Gravy: two TBSP white all purpose flour two TBSP butter. (Warm stock is added until you have the consistency you like.) In a large skillet, put the flour over a medium low heat and whisk until just turning brown. Add butter and continue to whisk the butter and flour together. Slowly add a 1/2 cup at a time of your warm stock. Continue to whisk. Keep adding stock a little at a time until you have reached desired consistency. At the end add a drop or two sherry. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper