- Meat and poultry
- Beef mince
This traditional moussaka is truly the best, and just as authentic as any you'd try in Greece! While it takes a bit of time, it's actually quite simple to make. Kali orexi! (Bon appetit!)
72 people made this
- 4 aubergines, cut lengthways into 1cm thick slices
- 950ml milk
- 110g butter
- 6 tablespoons plain flour
- salt to taste
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, grated
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 500g lean minced beef
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 400g passata
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 120g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
MethodPrep:45min ›Cook:1hr ›Extra time:20min resting › Ready in:2hr5min
- Sprinkle the aubergine slices with salt and place in a colander set in a sink or over a plate. Let the aubergine rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour, so that the bitter juices drain.
- Meanwhile, make the béchamel, begin by scalding the milk in a saucepan. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Lower heat; gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly until it thickens. Season with salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then gradually whisk in the beaten egg yolks. Set aside till needed.
- Once the juices have drained from the aubergine, rinse the slices, squeeze and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Fry the aubergine slices on each side till lightly browned. Set aside on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
- Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas 5. Grease a 22x33cm (9x13 in) baking dish with olive oil.
- Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Cook the grated onion until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a further minute. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the minced beef. Stir and cook till browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the allspice, cinnamon, sugar, salt, pepper and passata to the minced beef mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture is dry and all of the excess liquid has evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes. At the end of cooking, stir in the parsley and remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in the egg white.
- Arrange a layer of aubergine in the baking dish. Cover aubergine with all of the meat mixture, and then sprinkle 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese over the meat. Cover with remaining aubergine, and sprinkle another third of the cheese on top. Pour the béchamel over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is set and golden. Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Make it healthier
Pre-cooking the aubergine is essential, but instead of frying the slices, you can lightly brush with olive oil on both sides, place them in a single layer on a baking tray and bake them in a 200 C / Gas 6 oven, turning once halfway through.
You can lighten the meat sauce by using 250g minced pork and 250g minced beef instead of all beef.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(29)
Reviews in English (2)
My son helped me in the kitchen (I'm teaching him to cook) and we had a great time together making this recipe. I recommend cutting the eggplant thicker (1/2 inch) or overlapping them in the baking dish to give a good thick layer. Next time I will cut the butter and olive oil by about 2 TBL each (it was a bit oily and heavy for our tastes) and increase the Parmesan cheese and salt a bit. We used ground lamb and I used the suggested option to bake the eggplant. I couldn't find passata so I used Poni tomato puree and it worked very well.I can't wait to heat up leftovers for dinner tonight.-17 Jun 2013
Beautiful! I didn't have passata so instead mixed some tomato purée with hot water and added that instead... Also added some oregano as I've never known a Greek recipe without it! Stunning and my husband loved it (and he's Greek so that's a compliment) xxx-26 May 2015
Maghmour is the Lebanese version of moussaka, a comforting dish prepared without meat or cheese. Delicious layers of roasted eggplants, tomatoes, and chickpeas come together into a hearty casserole that will make everybody happy.
Time 1h 10m
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.
How would you rate Moussaka?
I made mashed potatoes, eggplant, lamb with crushed tomatoes, not whole. I am using a bechamel, with kasseri cheese and parm. Reggiano. I used 3 different recipes and combined. Most called for red wine, but I used white, pinot grigio. My friend who is Bolshevik made for me and she used mashed potatoes, it was divine.
This recipe is fantastic. If you wanted to you could probably have this done in around two hours (if you roast the eggplant, cook the sauce, and make the béchamel at the same time), but I took my time and did it in 3. Modifications I made to the recipe were using a mix of ground beef and pork instead of lamb, using 3/4 teaspoon (plus some more to taste) of cinnamon instead of the stick, and replacing farmer's cheese with ricotta. I initially followed the recipe's eggplant roasting instructions (preheating to 475 and then turning down to 400), but I actually found that the eggplant wasn't roasting fast enough at the end of 35 minutes, since I had to have three layers. After another 10 minutes at 425 they were perfect. If you have anything more that 2 layers on the sheet I would recommend preheating to 475 and then turning down to 425 instead, then just checking on them often to prevent burning. Overall, this recipe is worth the couple hours involved, and I'll definitely be making it again.
This is my go to Moussaka recipe, as good as my fav Greek restaurant. I used dried mint and oregano and probably get the same result, I also swapped a tsp of paprika for that and a tsp of hot smoked paprika, also I add some toasted pine nuts.
This was amazing. I would pit it against my favorite mom and pop Greek restaurant down the road. I pretty much followed the recipe, except substituting strained cottages cheese for the farmer's cheese, which is hard to find. I've made simpler moussaka recipes before but this was absolutely worth the time and effort. Even two out of three picky teenagers cleaned their plates!
I made this for 8 people and had clean plates all around. The only change I made because I didn’t have a stick of cinnamon was 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of allspice. Other than that made to recipe. Really good!
This is an amazing recipe! Super flavorful and so yummy, very easy to follow, and the measurements are right on the money for a 9x13 pan. I actually modified this recipe based on a tip from my SIL to make it vegetarian by subbing out the two pounds of ground lamb for just over two pounds of white mushrooms (stems removed and sliced). All the other steps can be kept the same except the mushrooms didn't need to be strained, and I later subbed in butter wherever it called for lamb fat. Highly recommend if you're looking for a quick modification to this dish, it was incredibly tasty. I also agree with other reviewers: the recipe is time intensive, but easy. There are several steps that you could parallelize if you had a second set of hands in the kitchen to cut the time down (e.g. prepping the eggplant to go in the oven while someone else starts the stovetop portions, and after that starting the beschamel earlier, etc.), because while my hands were almost always busy, each of the parts were generally just waiting on me. As far as a time estimate, it took me almost exactly three and a half hours (including the 30 minute cool down at the end) by myself -- however, it was my first time making something like this, and I did have some friends to chat with and a drink to slow me down, so you might be able to make it faster, haha!
This was delicious! Made mostly as written but I simplified the bechamel second step a bit, just threw in a bunch of feta, did not add the egg yolks or wait 10 minutes as it melted immediately. Also I used 1.3 lbs of ground beef instead of 2 lbs of lamb as that's what I had on hand. I agree with the other poster that the eggplant timing is touchy. I did 35 minutes at 475 and it was perfect, but I did it on two sheets and learned the hard way that you need to pull it from the oven right at 35 minutes (for the second sheet I turned the oven off but didn't take the baking sheet out immediately, and that eggplant was burnt on the bottom). I like to add nutmeg to bechamel but didn't this time and it was great. Really amazing flavors in this recipe.
Delicious but I feel quite certain that the oven temperature for cooking the eggplant is a typo. I only cooked them for 40 minutes and the bottoms were burned black. I think it should be 425, not 475, and even then I recommend checking the bottoms after 35 minutes. I see no reason that the eggplant needs to be cooked to death. I also added some fresh grated nutmeg to the Bechamel sauce. I've made this with other recipes before that used nutmeg and I loved the flavor.
Delicious! Worth all the time that is needed to make it. I substituted the eggplant with zucchini and love it. Looking forward to making it with eggplants as well.
This was delicious but definitely takes a while (as I think any moussaka recipe does). I followed the recipe as written with the exception of adding rosemary (always a good idea with lamb), one layer of potatoes, and 2 egg yolks in the bechamel rather than 3 because I was worried it would bake into more of an omelette texture than I wanted. The bechamel was absolutely perfect! The lamb sauce, however, produced A TON of liquid in the pan - I transferred a fair amount of liquid when I layered but it should probably be strained out if you just use a slotted spoon to transfer the lamb sauce when you build your layers. Also, the recipe as written turns the eggplant into mush next time I'll take it out after 15-20 mins, otherwise there's no structure and the layers disappear. My potato idea wasn't great - they didn't add anything. BA clearly had the right idea leaving them out!
With changes. Flavors were WONDERFUL! The lamb sauce rich and the custard was devine! (didn't use the farmer's cheese) However, the eggplant was hard as can happen. I would just salt to remove the water, then toss with the mint and oregano (I used fresh from our garden) plus the garlic and olive and let marinate. That way the eggplants would soften in the casserole when it was cooking.
I have now made this four times. I am obsessed with it. It easily makes one of the top five recipes that I have in my rotation. While this is not a quick project, it's definitely an easy one, and I appreciate how all the different components come together. I actually puree my garlic with a mortar & pestle rather than grate it -- I've cut my fingers a few too many times on slippery garlic pieces. I also put a baking sheet under the casserole dish in case of spills or drippings bubbling over the edge!
In Greek Cuisine Moussaka Is Traditionally Made with Lamb - But how do you like your moussaka?
Prepare the aubergines for the Greek Moussaka recipe
Leave the skins on and slice the aubergines into approximately 10mm thick slices.
Put the slices into a colander and sprinkle them with about 1 level dessertspoon of salt. Stand the colander on a plate to catch the water which comes out of the aubergine and put another plate on top of the aubergine slices.
You now need to weigh this plate down with something heavy (I find that a couple of tins of soup works quite well) and leave them for about an hour to let the juice come out.
After an hour, squeeze out any of the excess juice from the aubergines and dry them well in a clean cloth.
Spread the aubergine slices on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them tossing them around to get a good coating.
Put the baking sheet in a pre heated oven (around 200 degrees) and roast the aubergines for 30 minutes or until they are browning at the edges.
I usually roast the eggplant simply because the baking tray is much bigger than the frying pan and I can get the slices done all in one go, but, if you would rather sautee the eggplant to use in the moussaka you can do that too.
Now the aubergines are ready to use in the Greek Moussaka recipe.
The all-important aubergine
Nigel Slater recipe moussaka. Photograph: Felicity Cloake
The other principal ingredient is, of course, aubergine. This, in my opinion, is what really sets it apart from others of its ilk such as the shepherd's pie or the lasagne: layers of meltingly soft, every so slightly bitter purple and pale green slices, which all too often sadly, exude oil with every bite. To prevent this, pre-salting is de rigeur for everyone apart from Theodore – as Nigel explains, this helps them to "relax, allowing them to soak up less oil." (And what kind of monster would deny their aubergines a little R&R in the colander?)
Aubergines are notorious for their sponge-like qualities – I believe you could pour in most of a bottle of oil during cooking, and end up with none left in the pan – and indeed, Theodore's are notably greasy, even when patted dry before use. What I find more off-putting, however, is the frying most recipes demand: given the meat is simmering away in another at the same time, this necessitates the use of two frying pans. Hugh's baked aubergines, then, are a godsend: no need to salt them, as he does – simply brush with oil and stick in the already-heating oven for 25 minutes until soft, but pleasantly light on the grease front. After all, the lamb has enough fat in it to ensure the dish will never be dry.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST SCRUMPTIOUS VEGETARIAN MOUSSAKA
First of all, make a Bechamel cream. I skipped the butter and used olive oil instead, for a more light and refined cream. It’s easier to use too, as it will help with avoiding the cream getting crumbly.
Just mix the olive oil with a bit of flour (creating a roux) like you would do with a classic Bechamel, and then pour in the milk that’s in room temperature (again helps to avoid crumbles in the cream) and cook until cream thickens. It won’t get too thick on the stovetop as it is going to get baked as well.
Then after you seasoned the cream with ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper, whisk in the grated cheese while it’s still hot. And set aside to cool before you whisk in the eggs.
Proceed on making the spiced tomato sauce which requires only 30 minutes of simmering, and deep-fry all the vegetables until they get a deep golden color.
Once everything is ready, start building the layers inside a 9 x 13-inch pan or baking dish. Starting with a layer of potatoes, then a layer of zucchinis, a layer of eggplants and a few slices of tomato on top along with the tomato sauce, and cover everything well by spreading the creamy Bechamel all over on top.
To get that cheesy goodness on the top of the Moussaka, first bake the cream for a while until it starts to get golden on top, and then sprinkle the cheese on top!
Other Vegetarian Greek Dishes You May Like:
SERVE IT WITH ⬇
Want to serve your family and friends a Greek dinner? Serve this Vegetarian Moussaka along with these Crusty Feta Bread Rolls, Homemade Pita Bread, or this Fried Feta Cheese Saganaki.
Make the meat sauce
- Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, a generous pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the beef, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, until browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the wine turn the heat down to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley, tomato paste, and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and gently simmer to meld the flavors, stirring once or twice, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Salt the eggplant
- Cover the bottom and sides of a large colander with a single layer of the eggplant slices and sprinkle generously with salt. Top with more layers of eggplant, salting each layer until you run out of slices. Let sit in the sink or over a large bowl for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Pan-fry the potatoes
- Heat the oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat until shimmering hot (about 375°F).
- Meanwhile, slice the potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds, discarding the end slices.
- Working in batches, slide 10 to 15 potato slices into the hot oil in a single layer. Fry, flipping once, until the potatoes are tender, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer to a paper-towel-lined tray and gently blot off the excess oil. Lightly season with salt. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
Roast the eggplant
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
- Rinse the eggplant in cold water to remove excess salt. Press the slices between paper towels or clean kitchen towels to dry, then arrange them in a single layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Lightly brush both sides of each slice with the olive oil and lightly season both sides with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping once, until tender and lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes total.
Make the béchamel
- Heat the milk in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until steaming set aside.
- Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and then simmer gently, whisking, until the raw flour taste is gone and the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and gradually whisk in the eggs whisk vigorously to combine. Remove from the heat. Set aside 1 Tbs. of the cheese for assembly, and add the remaining cheese to the sauce, along with the nutmeg and 1 tsp. salt whisk until smooth. Season to taste with more salt and nutmeg.
Assemble and bake
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9吉-inch baking dish.
- Arrange the potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the dish, overlapping the slices like shingles. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tsp. of the reserved cheese.
- Arrange the eggplant slices as you did the potatoes, and evenly sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the remaining cheese. Spread the meat sauce in an even layer on top of the eggplant. Pour the béchamel over the meat sauce and spread in an even layer. Evenly sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. cheese. Bake until the top is golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead Tips
You can make the meat sauce up to 2 days ahead and refrigerate it, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
You can refrigerate an unbaked moussaka for up to 24 hours. Let it come to room temperature before baking. Or freeze it for up to three months. Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight, and let it come to room temperature before baking.
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My mother’s side of the family is Greek. When I was little, my yiayia (grandmother) lived with us. She took care of me and cooked for the family. My first memories stretch back to when I was barely able to reach the stove, yet still determined to “help” her in the kitchen. She and my pappou (grandfather) opened a successful restaurant, The College Inn Café. It was in this restaurant that they built their American dreams. Her life, much like my own, revolved around the kitchen. My yiayia made her own dolmades (using fresh grape leaves), cured her own olives, and of course made moussaka. One thing you need to understand about Greek grandmothers and mothers: They all make moussaka. Naturally, every Greek swears that their mother or grandmother’s moussaka is the best. In Greece there’s even a cooking competition show called My Mother Cooks Better than Your Mother, in which rosy-cheeked, apron-clad mothers throw down in the kitchen like MMA fighters. We Greeks take our cooking seriously! I’ll let you decide for yourself if my yiayia’s recipe is the best moussaka.
Moussaka: How to cook a delicious Greek dish
Moussaka is by far the most popular Greek dish worldwide. It's a very tasty casserole, and one of the top Greek comfort foods.
Even though moussaka is considered a traditional Greek dish, the truth is, that it's a relatively new dish of the Greek cuisine, with only about a century of existence, as it was probably invented by Nikos Tselementes in the 1920s.
Tselementes, was a famous Greek Chef, who modernized the Greek cuisine, adding European elements in classic Greek recipes. He was from the island of Sifnos, which to this day, offers some of the best cooked traditional Greek dishes, perhaps following his legacy.
Unfortunately, most of the moussaka served in popular tourist areas is of low quality both in taste and ingredients used. It's quite rare to taste a decent moussaka when you order it in a tavern or a tourist resort/hotel. Therefore, we urge you to try and cook it at home. The best moussaka dishes we had, were always home cooked.
The word "moussaka" is probably of Arabic origin, where a similar cold dish is served. There are many variations of the dish throughout the Balkans, Turkey, and the Arabic countries. The Greek version however, has been proven to be the most popular one, and is always consisting of 3 basic layers: a bottom layer of fried eggplants, a middle layer of ground meat, and a top layer of Greek bechamel sauce. Due to this layered way of assembling moussaka, many different dishes around the world which have layers have been occasionally named "moussaka", even though they are not even remotely related to this classic dish.
Every traditional Greek moussaka must contain the 3 specific layers mentioned: eggplants, ground meat and bechamel. There are however many versions of moussaka, as each Greek family have adjusted the dish according to their likings. So, there are versions where zucchinis or potatoes are added there are versions with ground beef, ground lamb, ground pork or combinations of those there are versions with or without tomato sauce (along with the ground meat) and finally there are versions where the bechamel top has also eggs or cheese in it.
Our own favorite version, which we are presenting you in this recipe, includes fried potatoes along with the eggplants at the bottom layer, and also includes a small green bell pepper in the ground beef sauce in the middle layer. That's our small "secret" that we share with you. On the top layer(bechamel), we prefer not to add eggs, and we simply sprinkle with graviera cheese.
It's a dish that requires a bit of time to cook, but you will definitely be rewarded for your patience by the amazing taste of the end result. The process is as follows: at the first phase we fry the ingredients used at the bottom layer the sliced potatoes and eggplants. At the second phase, we cook the ground meat with the tomato sauce for the middle layer. At the third phase we prepare the bechamel sauce to put on top (it doesn't take long) and on the fourth and final phase, we assemble the moussaka and bake in the oven.
It may look a bit overwhelming, but half the time needed is just the baking, where you don't have to do a thing! You simply wait and try to resist opening the oven door! The phase which takes a bit more time (around 30 minutes) is cooking the ground meat with tomato sauce for the middle layer. The rest are quite easy and quick to make. So, if you take the time to cook moussaka correctly, you will always succeed in having a superb dish for you and your family!
1st layer (base)
-220g (7.7oz / 1 middle sized) potato, cut into thin slices (about 1cm/0.4inch thick)
-180g (6.3oz / 1 small) eggplant, cut into thin slices (about 1cm/0.4inch thick)
-250ml (1 cup) olive oil
2nd layer (middle)
-250g (9 oz) ground beef
-300g (10.5oz / 1 big) tomato, grated
-80g (3 oz/ 1 small)green bell pepper, finely chopped
-140g (5oz / 1 middle sized) onion, finely chopped
-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
-125ml (1/2 cup) wine
-1/3 teaspoon cinnamon powder
-125ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
-salt and pepper
Top layer – Greek bechamel sauce
-4 tablespoons flour
-3 tablespoons margarine or butter
-375ml (1 1/2 cups) milk in room temperature
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-40g (1.5oz) Dubliner cheese or Gruyere, grated
Phase 1: 1st layer (cooking time 10')
Add the olive oil in a medium size pan, put it on high heat and fry the potatoes for about 3-4 minutes (turn once). Remove them from the pan and let them drain on paper towel. Then fry the eggplants for 2 minutes (turn once). Remove from the pan and let them drain on paper towel as well. It's important not to fry the potatoes and the eggplants all the way through. They need to be soft, almost cooked but not completely done.
Phase 2: 2nd layer(cooking time 25-30')
Add the olive oil in a medium sized pan, on medium to high heat. Once hot add the onion and the pepper. Saute for 2 minutes and add the ground beef.
Using a fork cut the ground beef in small pieces, mixing it with the onion and the pepper until all moisture is evaporated (about 3 minutes).
Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, the cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes and then add the wine. Continue cooking for 2 minutes more and add the tomato.
Cook about 10 minutes, until all moisture evaporates.
Put the fried potatoes in the bottom of a small baking pan, then add on top of them the fried eggplants. On top of the eggplants spread the ground beef. Leave the baking pan aside for a while and start preparing the bechamel topping.
Phase 3: Top layer - Greek Bechamel sauce (cooking time 5-6')
Melt the butter in a small pot on medium to high heat. Slowly add the flour, while constantly whisking. The butter must be completely absorbed by the flour, forming a thick mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and slowly pour the milk into the pot, constantly whisking. Add the nutmeg and the salt. Cook, until you get a not too thick., creamy result. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the bechamel sauce into the baking pan on top of the ground beef. Sprinkle with the cheese.
Phase 4: Baking (50')
Put the baking pan in the oven, in the middle rack at 180 Celsius (356 Fahrenheit) for 50 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and leave aside for at least 30 minutes to chill before serving. Kali oreksi!
1. If you cook more than the proposed in this recipe quantity, you can freeze the moussaka in an airtight container and reheat it again in the future.
2. You can also add egg yolks in the bechamel sauce, but before you add them you must give it first a few minutes to cool down to avoid the eggs being cooked. Then proceed and add the bechamel to the baking pan as usual.
3. You can use Dubliner cheese if you can't find graviera cheese. You can also try some other hard yellow cheese of your liking instead. Parmesan however is not recommended for this dish.
4. You can omit the potatoes at the bottom layer if you prefer a more classic moussaka.
5. The ground meat with tomato sauce is basically a thick Bolognese style sauce. So, you can also experiment with your favorite ground meat tomato sauce for the middle layer. You have to make sure however, that it's thick and not watery.
6. You can also sprinkle with breadcrumbs on top before baking if you prefer a crispier result.
7. Moussaka is best served with feta cheese and/or Greek salad and a couple of slices of fresh bread.
8. It's better to serve moussaka in warm or in room temperature. Never too hot.
9. You can add more eggplant slices in the bottom layer if you like.
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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.