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- - in Olive Oil

Moussaka is a hearty, delicious baked eggplant dish. There are many variations of a Moussaka, depending on the country of origin. This particular recipe here is a modern take of a Greek Moussaka recipe. It includes some very classic Greek ingredients – minced lamb, eggplant, tomato, cinnamon and mint. A traditional Greek Moussaka recipe contains a béchamel sauce between the layers of meat and eggplant but my version here substitutes the béchamel sauce with mozzarella cheese which saves time yet doesn’t comprise on taste.

To cook a modern take on the Greek version of Moussaka:

1. Place a large, deep, fry pan over medium heat. Cook one chopped garlic clove and 1 small chopped onion in a tablespoon of olive oil for around 4 minutes or until soft. Add 1 kg minced lamb and cook for 5 minutes or until browned.

2. Add 700ml tomato puree, 1 cup beef stock, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 4 cup chopped mint, and 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley and salt and pepper. Cook for around 15-20 minutes or until reduced and thickened. Set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, sprinkle 1.5 kg finely sliced eggplant with salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel then brush the eggplant lightly with olive oil and cook in batches in a large, non-stick fry pan over medium heat until golden.

4. To assemble the Moussaka, place 1/3 of the eggplant slices in the base of a 22cm oven-proof dish. Top with 1/3 of the cheeses and half of the meat sauce.

5. Continue layering, finishing with a layer of cheese. Place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes or until the cheese is golden.

The Turkish version of Moussaka, is not layered. Instead, it is prepared with sautéed aubergines, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat and it is usually served with seasoned yoghurt and pilaf. The Serbian and Bulgarian Moussaka recipe uses potatoes instead of aubergines and pork mince instead of lamb and the top layer is yogurt mixed with raw eggs and flour. In the Arab world, Moussaka is a cooked salad made up primarily of tomatoes and aubergine, similar to Italian caponata, and it is usually served cold as a mezze dish.

There is much to like about Moussaka. Apart from being very tasty and family friendly, Moussakas freeze particularly well without any loss of flavor and texture once defrosted and baked. You can double the recipe and eat one now and freeze the second to enjoy later with no loss of flavor or texture. Served with a salad, a Moussaka is complete meal for the family.

Delicious Moussaka Recipe: The Modern Greek Version

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