Greek Food for Thought: Moussaka
A Hearty Greek Dish
When many people hear the term moussaka, they immediately associate it with Greek cuisine. While the Greek version of this dish is the most well-known, (and in my opinion the best tasting one) moussaka can be found throughout the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean region in its diverse variations. This dish is NOT something you should make every week. It's rich and heavy with eggplants layered with a thick minced meat sauce and smothered in a creamy and cheesy bechamel sauce. So it's safe to say, its not exactly heart healthy, but who said good tasting foods were healthy? If you want to try some good Greek food, try out this recipe, I'm sure you won't regret it. (I know I don't)
Bechamel Sauce Recipe
- 75g butter
- 500ml Milk
- 40g flour
- Melt butter in a saucepan and add flour. Stir well and cook the flour so that you make a roux.
- Stir in the milk. Lower the heat and continue to stir so that the butter/flour mixture dissolves.
- Let it simmer for 5 minutes till the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and use it ASAP otherwise it will stick to your saucepan.
- 2 eggplants, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 400g tomato sauce
- 500g minced meat
- 3 garlic cloves, minced and crushed
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 300g Parmesan cheese, grated
- Start off by heating a frying pan with some oil and fry the eggplant. It is a lengthy process, but cook all the eggplant 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and set on a plate with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- In a saucepan, heat a small amount of olive oil (perhaps a tablespoon), and add the onion and garlic to the mix. Cook till the onions are translucent.
- Now add the minced meat. Cook till its browned and add salt, pepper, and oregano. Incorporate the seasonings well into the raw meat. Add the tomato sauce. Lower the heat and let it simmer till the liquid evaporates,roughly 5 minutes.
- Now place the eggplant on to a baking dish in a overlapping manner. Next add the sauce. Then sprinkle a bit of the grated cheese. Repeat till you have the eggplant on top.
- Finally, pour the bechamel sauce on top, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of that. Bake at 180C for 45 minutes or until it is golden on top. Let it stand for 20 minutes before serving. (Trust me it will be easier to handle, so a bit of patience won't hurt) And, enjoy!