How to Make Classic Greek Moussaka
A Classic Greek Dish
Every cuisine has its comfort food and, for the Greeks, this well-known main meal is definitely a candidate! A baked dish consisting of eggplant, ground (minced) lamb and a topping of rich cheese sauce, Moussaka (pronounced Moo-sah-kah) is very popular throughout the Middle East - of which, strictly speaking, Greece is a part.
Lamb is the meat of choice in Greece, but it isn't always readily available in the area that I live, so I have become accustomed to using ground (minced) beef instead. When served with a dressed green salad, Moussaka always makes a welcome (and economical) change on my family's menu.
This recipe makes 6 generous servings and you will need to allow 20 minutes (+ 1 hour standing time) for preparation and a further 1 hour and 45 minutes (minimum) total cooking time.
You will need
- 3 medium eggplants (aubergines)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup olive oil
For the Meat Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound (500g) ground (minced) lamb or beef
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 13 ½ ounce (425g) can tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
For the Cheese Sauce
- 3 ounces (90g) butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup grated Romano cheese
How to make moussaka
1. Cut unpeeled eggplant into ½ inch (1 cm) slices. Sprinkle both sides with salt; stand in a colander 1 hour. Rinse in cold water, drain well. Squeeze out excess moisture with paper towels.
2. To make Meat Sauce: Heat oil in pan. Add onion and beef. Stir over high heat 10 minutes or until well browned and all liquid has evaporated. Add wine, tomato puree, herbs, cinnamon and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and simmer 10 minutes.
3. To make Cheese Sauce: Heat butter in small pan; add flour. Stir over low heat for 2 minutes. Add milk gradually to pan, stirring until smooth. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Cook for 1 minute; remove pan from heat. Add eggs and cheese, beat until smooth.
4. Preheat oven to moderate (350° F/180° C). Heat oil in heavy-based pan. Cook eggplant a few slices at a time until golden; remove from pan, drain on paper towels. Divide eggplant into three. Arrange one portion over base of shallow ovenproof dish. Spread with half the meat sauce, second layer of eggplant, remaining meat sauce and eggplant. Spread Cheese Sauce over eggplant. Bake 45 minutes or until golden. Leave in dish for 5 minutes before serving.