We love Moussaka - it conjures up imagery of a dreamy three month carefree holiday island hopping. Generally accepted as being the Greek national dish, Moussaka has as many variations as there are Greek homes - although it will typically include minced meat, spices, aubergine and bechamel sauce.
Some Moussakas will include potatoes whilst others will use courgettes instead of aubergine. I think it originally just depended on what was available on the day that Greek Mum wanted to make it! Making a Moussaka can be a lengthy task but with a bit of organization it isn't too bad and the meat sauce can even be made the day before. Which ever way you decide to make it though it will definitely worth the effort.
I don't claim this to be the most authentic recipe in the world for Moussaka - it has been adapted over the years to suit our families taste. It's a tasty and satisfying meal that brings sunny memories on a cold February day.
The preparation can be divided into 5 parts:
The Meat Sauce.
The Bechamel Sauce.
Oven to 200°C
1. I don't fry the aubergine as they absorb far too much oil for me. I thinly slice it & lay the slices on a baking tray that's been lightly brushed with Olive Oil. I drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil over the top of the slices and then bake them in the oven for 15 minutes.
2. Peel & chop the onion and fry gently in olive oil until they soften but not brown. Add a crushed clove of garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes.
3. Add the minced meat - any is acceptable although lamb is more traditional. Fry it quickly to brown. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, the red wine and the spices. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Peel and slice the potatoes and bring to the boil in lightly salted water. As soon as the water boils turn off the heat and allow the slices to stay in the water for 10 minutes before draining.
5. Make the Bechamel Sauce - instructions here
. Add the beaten egg to the cool sauce.
6. Everything is now ready to assemble in an oven proof dish. Put half of the meat sauce into the dish, lay half of the aubergine slices on top followed by half of the potatoes.
7. Repeat the layers once, cover with the Bechamel Sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble and brown.
Lovely with a crusty baguette and/or salad.