Classic Greek Moussaka Recipe
Whenever I’m preparing a classic I try to do my homework to get it right the very first time. I made a moussaka recipe before once a long time ago. I remember that the flavor was alright but the whole dish kind of fell apart once I started to cut it up. This time I have meticulously followed all the steps of Panos and Mirella’s recipe. Mine is quite a copycat recipe but instead of adding some personal touches I decided to stick to the original to risk nothing. I only adapted the amount of ingredients to make a smaller portion for the hubs and I.
Love the potatoes on the bottom of this moussaka recipe! I was amazed by how little time I needed to prepare the moussaka: I really though it took much longer. This is dish that you can easily prepare a day in advance. I prefer to let the moussaka rest and chill in the fridge overnight and bake it the day after but this is optional of course.
Result in the end: a highly flavorful moussaka with some gorgeous soft layers of fried potato, eggplant, tomato minced meat and that creamy béchamel sauce with a crunchy cheese crust on top… We loved it. Excellent recipe!
- 4,5 oz potatoes (125 g), peeled
- 5,5 oz fresh eggplant (155 g)
- 9 oz ground beef (250 g), or ground lamb
- 5,5 oz fresh tomato (155 g), grated
- 80 g green bell pepper (3 oz), chopped
- ½ small onion finely chopped
- 2 meidum garlic cloves finely chopped
- ½ cup red wine (125 ml)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk (300 ml)
- a handful cheese grated
- ground cinnamon
- olive oil
- Slice the potato and eggplant into finger thick slices. Pour half a cup (120 ml) of olive oil in a medium size non-stick pan and place it over medium-high. Once hot, add the potatoes and fry them on both sides for 6 to 7 minutes.
- Remove the potato and let the slices drain on kitchen paper. Add the sliced eggplant to the hot oil and fry them for 4 minutes on both sides.
- Take the pan off the heat, remove the fried eggplant and let it drain on kitchen paper as well. Place a layer of fried potatoes in a small baking dish and top with the fried eggplant.
- Leave about 2 tablespoons of hot olive oil in the pan you fried the potatoes and eggplant in. Place it over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and green bell pepper. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt.
- Gently fry the vegetables for 2 minutes. Then add the ground beef or lamb.
- Stir fry the beef and vegetables for 5 minutes. Then add the grated tomato, tomato paste and red wine. Season with a pinch of cinnamon, pepper and salt.
- Turn the heat up and cook the beef for a couple of minutes until the moisture is almost gone. Check the seasoning of the beef and take the pan off the heat. Let it cool a little. Then pour the ground beef on top of the eggplant and potato in the baking dish.
- Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Then add the flour.
- Whisk well. Let the flour paste bake for 2 minutes. Then pour in the milk.
- Keep stirring well. Turn the heat lower and let the béchamel thicken a little. Add a pinch of nutmeg and salt to taste. Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the bechamel sauce on top of the ground beef.
- Sprinkle with grated cheese and place the moussaka in a preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) for about 50 minutes. Remove the moussaka from the oven and let it cool down for 30 minutes before serving. Cut it up and serve.
Can you name other classic Greek dishes? I bet you are very familiar with tzatziki, the minty yogurt and cucumber dip and the classic Greek salad of course! Any chance you have also heard about one of my personal Greek favorite, avgolemono soup! That’s a superb chicken, rice and lemon soup. very refreshing and filling, the perfect summer lunch! Don’t forget to check my meatballs in avgolemono sauce too!
Another dish I like a lot are prawns saganaki: fresh prawns in a tomato feta sauce. I can go on and on about Greek food. Skordalia is a garlicky potato dip, love it as a spread on bread. Giouvetsi is a hearty stew of beef or lamb with tomato sauce and Greek pasta… perfect for the winter days!
I love Greek food. I was in Greece twice before: once in Santorini and the second time the hubs and I visited another island: Crete. Never been to the Greek mainland before but that’s on the long travel short list. Everyone I know that visited Greece was absolutely charmed, not only by the landscapes and history but mainly about the food. And let’s not forget Greek wines! OK retsina might be the most well known Greek white wine (and I love by the way).
We visited a winery in Santorini, did a wine tasting on the spot and I was so blown away by the white Assyrtiko grape. Oh and another food item that I deiscovered in Santorini: fava beans! They look like yellow split peas. The beans are cooked, strained and mash into a creamy puree. I loved it the most when the puree was still warm, drizzled with a flavorful olive oil and sprinkled with raw chopped sweet onion. Absolutely to die for…
Crete on the other hand will remind me forever of another great Greek lunch idea: dakos or ntakos. Large barley rusk topped with raw grated tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, dried herbs, olives and capers. Splash of olive oil, sprinkle of pepper and salt. Oh man, that’s just out of this world.
But Greek food is so much more than the bunch I just summed up above. Way more that that! Time to go back I reckon, thinking of Greek food has made me almighty hungry!!