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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
For meat sauce:
500 g ground meat, lean beef or lamb
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
1 tsp dried oregano
8 allspice berries
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
½ ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp tomato paste
400 g canned peeled tomatoes (or fresh, blanched and peeled)
2 tbsp olive oil
For sautéed eggplants:
1.5 kg eggplants
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
For béchamel sauce:
80 g butter
80 g wheat flour
600 ml milk
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 egg yolks
For baking:
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup breadcrumbs
100 g grated parmesan
Greek Moussaka

Greek Moussaka

Cuisine:
  • 220
  • Serves 6
  • Medium

Ingredients

  • For meat sauce:

  • 500 g ground meat, lean beef or lamb

  • 1 medium onion

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 8 allspice berries

  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

  • 1 tsp salt

  • ½ ground black pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste

  • 400 g canned peeled tomatoes (or fresh, blanched and peeled)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • For sautéed eggplants:

  • 1.5 kg eggplants

  • 6 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp salt

  • For béchamel sauce:

  • 80 g butter

  • 80 g wheat flour

  • 600 ml milk

  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 egg

  • 2 egg yolks

  • For baking:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs

  • 100 g grated parmesan

Directions

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Moussaka is a traditional Balkan dish made from vegetables and meat sauce, arranged in layers and baked.  Greek moussaka in made from eggplants and meat sauce with tomatoes. This is béchamel sauce that adds a unique tenderness to it.

I am literally in love with this dish! It is wonderful! I should warn you, that you will have to potter with it for a while just like with any dish that consists of separately prepared layers. BUT! That is worth the effort. Besides moussaka can be easily kept refrigerated getting only testier. It is usually cooked abundantly, and warmed up before serving.

Moussaka is very herby and fragrant – unbelievably delicious! I highly recommend! This dish excites me every time I cook it!

Here are a couple of nuances I would like to share with you:

  1. The dish is quite fatty as the meat sauce includes oil, eggplants are sautéed with oil, béchamel sauce is made of butter and the top of the dish is drizzled with cheese. So, use lean meat to reduce the fattiness of moussaka. And sauté eggplants using a little oil (follow the recipe).
  2. The secret of this dish lies in spices. Stick to the recipe: use all the spices indicated in the recipe in the indicated amount even if you don’t usually use them or use in a lesser amount. This set of spices adds a “southern” and sunny flavor to moussaka.
  3. Set aside enough time for preparing moussaka. The total time of cooking moussaka is more than 3 hours. If you don’t have 3 free hours in a raw, prepare the meat sauce in advance. I usually make the meat sauce a day before baking moussaka. If the sauce is done, stick to the following instructions to save your time: 1. Cut and sprinkle with salt the slices of eggplant. Let them soak. 2. Prepare the béchamel sauce. 3. Warm up the sauce. 4. Sauté the eggplant slices. 5. Layer the ingredients and bake.

Bon appetite!

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Steps

1
Done

Prepare the meat sauce.

Cut the onions into small cubes. Finely chop the garlic.

2
Done

In a skillet, heat olive oil. Cook the onions over low/medium heat for 5-8 min until transparent. Add the garlic and cook together for another min (don’t let the garlic go brown).

3
Done

Add the ground beef. Increase heat to medium/high. Add all the spices (a cinnamon stick, oregano, allspice berries, nutmeg, ground cloves, salt and ground black pepper) except for a bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is done.

4
Done

Add the tomato paste and mix. Cook for 2 min. Add the tomatoes together with their juices. With a spatula, smash the tomatoes and divide them into pieces. Mix, add a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and cook for 45 min. If the sauce is not liquid enough, add some water.

5
Done

Try the sauce. Add salt/pepper to taste.

6
Done

Sauté the eggplants. First, cut them into thin (3 mm) slices, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 30 min for them to soak and get rid of bitterness. Rinse in water and pat dry with a kitchen towel so that they won’t sizzle during the cooking.

7
Done

Cover the eggplants with a thin layer of oil on both sides (use a brush or an oil spray). We don’t need out eggplants to be fried in oil, they should be slightly covered with it, otherwise they will absorb oil and the moussaka will be too fatty.

8
Done

Sauté each slice in a dry pan until golden. Transfer onto a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.

9
Done

Prepare the béchamel sauce.

Heat the milk until hot. In another pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir until smooth. The mixture will thicken and start boiling. Add nutmeg and salt. Continue stirring with a whisk. Fold in hot milk, keep on stirring. The mixture will immediately thicken but then, when milk is added, it will finally have a consistency of thick sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has boiled. The sauce will soon thicken. Cook for another 2-4 min after boiling. Remove from heat and place in freezing water to chill, stir occasionally. As soon as the mixture has chilled, add the eggs and yolks. Stir until smooth. You will get a thick and rich sauce of a silky consistency. Place plastic wrap on top otherwise there will be a film. Set aside.

10
Done

Assembling the moussaka.

Grease a bottom of a high-sided baking dish (approx. 23-33 cm) with olive oil. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs evenly.

11
Done

Divide the eggplant slices into two halves as the moussaka has two layers. Arrange the first half on the bottom.

12
Done

Remove a cinnamon stick from the meat sauce and, if possible, allspice berries. Divide the sauce into two halves. Place the sauce on top of the first layer of the eggplant slices. Smooth the surface.

13
Done

Arrange the remaining eggplant slices on top of the sauce.

14
Done

Place the remaining sauce on top of the second layer of eggplant slices. Smooth the surface.

15
Done

Place the béchamel sauce on top and smooth the surface. Evenly sprinkle with grated parmesan.

16
Done

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 45 min until golden brown. If in 45 min the moussaka has not got golden brown, turn on the grill and cook for a few minutes until done.

17
Done

Take out of the oven and let stand for 10-15 min before you cut it.

How to serve:

Serve with Greek salad or fresh vegetables. May be sprinkled with fresh greens.

How to keep:

Moussaka can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days getting only tastier. Keep covered and warm up before serving.

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