Welcome back to our second week of our journey through the Greek cuisine!
Our Greek Series would not be complete without the recipe of one of the most famous Greek dishes, and probably the Greek Dish per excellence, the Moussaka!
The name originates from the Arabic, and it means “chilled”. It’s also found in Greek Turkish and South Slavic languages. This shows that Moussaka is also present in other cuisines, however the Greek version of it, a layered casserole with potatoes, eggplants (aubergines) and lamb has become the most popular. Some people add also nutmeg, garlic and spices to season the vegetables and the meat.
Moussaka is a dish that incorporates the bitterness of the eggplant which contrasts with the sweetness of the potatoes. Both the flavors work very well with meat, and moreover the creamy, milky béchamel on top just adds that delicious, soft details that makes Moussaka a perfect dish for the entire family!
1280g(45 oz) potatoes
640g (22 oz) minced meat – lamb, beef or a mixture of both
3 tablespoons butter
480g (17 oz) tinned tomatoes or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup grated cheese – cheddar, parmesan or kefalotiri
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
oil for frying
approx 8 tablespoons ground french toast (friganies), or dried breadcrumbs
For the béchamel sauce:
125g (4.5 oz) butter
4 tablespoons plain flour
1l (about 4 cups) warm milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Wash and peel the potatoes, then cut them in 1/4 inch round slices. Fry them on both sides and lay them on a papertowel to absorb the oils. Do the same with the eggplants cut in thin slices.
In a saucepan melt the butter and add chopped onions and the meat until browned. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, parsley. Cover and simmer until the juices are dried up.
Remove from the heat, add 1/3 of the cheese and 3-4 tablespoon of breadcrumbs.
Get a baking tray, sprinkle the bottom of it with breadcrumbs. Lay the eggplants and sprinkle them with grated cheese. Do the same with a layer of potatoes. Pour the meat sauce over the potatoes, and cover the meat with another layer of eggplants, and potatoes.
In the meantime prepare the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the flower until it becomes homogeneous. When it starts to bubble remove the pan from the stove, and gradually add the milk. Put back on the stove at a very low heat and keep stirring until the sauce thickens.
Season it with salt and pepper, and once cooled add the egg yolks and stir until they are mixed in.
At this point, pour the béchamel on top of the potatoes, add some grated cheese and bake in a medium oven at 180 C (356 F) for 30-40 minutes until golden. Remove, let rest for about 10 minutes and serve with a crispy green salad!