Simple Moussaka Recipe

A classic Greek moussaka is a substantial, subtly spiced, layered bake of aubergines and minced beef topped with a creamy béchamel that fluffs up beautifully when baked. It takes a while to prepare, but is really worth it and you can always cook the meat the day before to make it easier.

The aubergines are an important part of the flavour of the finished dish, so make sure you use fresh and glossy skinned ones. Traditionally beef mince is most often used for moussaka in Greece but our British version frequently prefers lamb, so the choice is yours.

Recipe for Moussaka

450g / 1lb minced beef or lamb
1 large onion sliced
½ cup white wine
400g tin tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
salt ad pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
25g grated parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 kg / 2.2 lb aubergines
½ cup vegetable oil for frying

Bechamel sauce and Topping
80g / 3oz butter
80g / 3oz flour
600ml / 1 pint milk
salt and pepper
90g / 3oz grated parmesan
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs

Prepare the aubergine

Trim the stems off the aubergines and wash them. Slice into ½ inch / 1cm slices lengthways. Stand them in a large bowl and sprinkle them liberally with salt on both side. Leave them for 30 minutes. The bitter juice should run out. Rinse them well and pat them dry on kitchen towel. Fry them in batches in the vegetable oil until they are golden brown on both sides. Drain them on kitchen towel to get rid of the excess oil.

Prepare the meat

Put two tablespoons of oil into a large pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until starting to soften. Add the minced meat and stir until it loses its raw red colour. Pour in the wine and let it bubble, then add the chopped tomatoes with just a little of their juice. Stir in the spices, bay leaf and oregano. Cook covered at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The liquid should all have been absorbed. If it hasn’t cook uncovered for another 15 minutes or until it looks fairly dry. At the end stir in 25g grated parmesan and the chopped parsley.

Make the béchamel sauce

Warm the milk. In a small saucepan melt the butter then add in the flour a little at a time stirring constantly until it has all formed a paste. Add the milk a little at a time stirring each lot in before adding the next. Add the seasoning and cook stirring often until the sauce thickens. Off the heat add 60g of the parmesan cheese and the egg yolks, stirring them in well to make a thick béchamel.

Put it all together

Oil a deep roasting dish. Put a layer of fried aubergine slices to cover the bottom. Spread half of the meat over them, then add another layer of aubergine slices. Put the rest of the meat in an even layer on top. Any left over aubergine slices can go on top of this, but it doesn’t matter if you have used them up already. Pour the béchamel sauce over, then sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs over the top..

Bake at 180C / 350F for 1 hour until the top is golden. Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with a salad and some crusty bread.

Want to eat moussaka without all this work?! Visit one of the Greek restaurants in Nottingham for authentic Greek cuisine.

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Rating: 3.1/5 (10 votes cast)
Simple Moussaka Recipe, 3.1 out of 5 based on 10 ratings

  1. Hi, I think one of the best uses of a lamb roast the next day is for Moussaka. Most importantly don’t mince the meat, instead chop it finely. Somehow the flavours soak better into the rest of the dish. And to be really honest, the best possible version is to cook it, let it sit and reheat the next day. Wow, the rich aromas sail then!

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