By Victoria Loutas.
Moussaka is a signature Mediterranean dish served in most Greek taverns and at large family gatherings. The decadent layers all come together to form one of the most hearty traditional Greek meals. Whilst this dish takes a bit of time to assemble, it is well worth the wait and definitely a crowd pleaser!
For the base:
- 4 eggplants (sliced into round pieces)
- 6 potatoes (sliced into round pieces)
- Vegetable oil
For the meat sauce:
- 750 gram lamb and beef mince
- 2 red onions (chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 glass of red wine
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the bechamel sauce:
- 120g butter
- 120g all purpose flour
- 900ml milk
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 120g grated cheese of your choice
- Salt to taste
- Fill a frying pan with vegetable oil and lightly fry the eggplant and potato slices. Season with salt and set aside on a paper towel when done.
- Now we prepare the meat sauce. Begin by heating a large man to medium-high heat and adding olive oil. Add in the chopped onion and garlic and let simmer.
- Add in the mince and continue to break it up with a wooden spoon.
- Once the mince has browned, add in the tinned tomatoes, oregano, cinnamon and salt and pepper.
- Pour in the red wine into the meat sauce and add the bay leaf. Bring the boil down to a low heat and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes – 1 hour with the lid on.
- In the meantime, begin making the bechamel sauce by heating a large pot over medium heat. Melt the butter until it froths then start adding the flour and continuously stir for 2 minutes.
- Slowly pour in milk, whisking continuously until the mixture has thickened.
- When the sauce has thickened, add the egg yolk, cheese and nutmeg. Whisk until a smooth consistency is formed.
- Now we assemble! Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius and brush a large baking dish with butter.
- Begin by layering the potato slices, then half the egg plant.
- Pour in all of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a spoon. Add the second half of the eggplants on top of the meat.
- Top with the bechamel sauce and sprinkle some grated cheese before cooking in the over for about 1 hour, or until golden brown.
- Remove the moussaka from the oven and let it cool. Serve with a side of Greek salad and enjoy!