Moussaka Recipe, Greece - Global Storybook

Moussaka – A Traditional Greek Eggplant Casserole

Foteini Pagonidou

Foteini Pagonidou

Foteini Pagonidou is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Greece).

Foteini was born and raised in Greece. She loves Greek cuisine and even though she admires her country's history and culture, she always strives to explore other civilizations as well. Foteini strongly believes that a traveler's mind - is an open mind.
She is looking forward to sharing all the secrets of her beautiful country with you.
Foteini Pagonidou

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One of the most popular dishes in our country is the Moussaka, which is synonymous with traditional Greek cuisine.  So let’s learn some secrets about its preparation, step by step.

Minced meat

There are countless variations of moussaka.  The prevailing view asserts that moussaka’s minced meat should be beef, or a mix of beef and pork.  However, the traditional moussaka contains only lamb, with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg, which makes it an exquisite blend.

Tomato sauce

What is definitely common between all the versions of moussaka is the tomato sauce.  Most use tomato juice or even freshly squeezed tomatoes, while some add the tomato paste.  In any case, with the right spices and some wine – the result will be rich and simply delicious.

Eggplant

The main ingredient for moussaka is eggplant.  However, eggplants tend to absorb a lot of oil, so it is advisable to have them a bit pre-cooked and salted.

Béchamel

The best part of moussaka is always a good béchamel.  You don’t have to flavor your béchamel with onion or any spices, since your minced meat will have some nutmeg and cinnamon in it.  If you want an even better tasting béchamel – you can add some grated cheese.  Feta cheese sprinkled on top is one of the best choices.

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Spices and herbs are the great secrets to making a perfect moussaka.  Nutmeg has the leading role, along with cinnamon, of course.  You can still use some oregano and parsley, while a clove of garlic will provide an even more intense Mediterranean aroma to your moussaka.

Last but not least, before you serve your moussaka, let it cool off slightly so that its pieces are not broken.  As with most eggplant dishes – the taste is always better once they are a bit cooler.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 3 medium aubergines cut into thick slices
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1.5 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 500g lamb or beef (plus pork optional) minced meat
  • 2 tsp tomato crustaceans dissolved in 150 ml. water
  • 150ml of red wine
  • A bunch of parsley

For Béchamel:

  • 500ml of milk
  • 60g butter
  • 60g flour
  • 50g grated cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Nutmeg

Moussaka Recipe, Greece - Global Storybook1. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Cut the eggplants into slices about half a centimeter thick and place them on a slightly greased baking paper.  Sprinkle the eggplants with some oil and bake for 25 minutes until they soften and get a golden shade.

2. In the meantime, pour 2 tsp of oil onto a large pan, then fry the onions until they soften, over medium heat.  Add some garlic, cinnamon, and oregano, and cook for two extra minutes, then mix everything with the minced meat.  Add a bit of heat and fry until the meat is brown and until the mixture is dry.  Now, add the tomato paste and the wine, and let it simmer.  Next, lower the heat to a minimum and leave it for 30-40 minutes until all the fluids evaporate.  Finally, add the parsley.

3. While the meat is simmering, prepare the béchamel.  Heat the milk without making it boil, then melt the butter in a separate pan.  Add some flour to the butter, cook it for 2 minutes, then slowly add the mixture to the milk, while stirring.  Continue to cook and stir until béchamel gains a thick texture, then add the grated cheese.  Stir well until the cheese melts.  After it melts, remove the béchamel from the heat and let it cool down slightly.  Next, add the eggs, a bit of salt and some nutmeg to the mixture.

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4. Finally, spread one-third of the eggplants around the base of the baking pan, then place half of the minced meat on top.  Repeat the same process by making several layers, then finally pour the béchamel on top.  Bake for 45 minutes until the surface is brown.  Before serving, allow the moussaka to cool off for about half an hour.  Enjoy!

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Moussaka – A Traditional Greek Eggplant Casserole Recipe - Global Storybook

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