Greek Lamb Moussaka
A good friend of mine and her mother from Greece came to visit me last Summer. And I was very fortunate enough to learn from them a family recipe of Lamb Moussaka. There are so many recipes today, even Vegetarian versions on how to make Lamb Moussaka. But this one, really hits the spot for me as it is now one of my favorite comfort foods. We all know that we need more comfort food at a time where we need to social distance from people around us.
It is so easy to make with of course, many steps in making them, but trust me when I say how rewarding it will be in the end.
1 large eggplants
2 large potatoes
*cut the eggplant, zucchini and potatoes into slices of 1 cm thick
1 large onion, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
500g of minced lamb
Vegetable oil for frying
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
260g of tomato sauce
1 cup (240ml) beef broth / (1/2 cup red wine)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon thyme
Ingredients for the béchamel sauce
1L of milk
120g of butter / 1 stick
80-85g of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 egg yolks
1. Prepare and wash the eggplant, zucchini and potatoes well, pat them dry and line them on a baking sheet. Season with salt, drizzle with olive oil and bake till golden. This is a much healthier version than frying them in hot oil.
2. Prepare the meat mixture: heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add crushed garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes more.
3. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink. Add in the salt, pepper, cinnamon and thyme, stir well. Then the tomato paste and stir.
4. Add bay leaf, tomato sauce and stir well. Add beef broth / wine, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Prepare the béchamel sauce: heat 1 litter of milk. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter, when the butter is melted, add flour and whisk continuously, until smooth paste forms. Gradually add the warm milk while continually whisking to prevent lumps. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and add pinch salt, black pepper, nutmeg, Parmesan and egg yolks, whisk until smooth.
6. Preheat oven to 180C (360F).
7. Assemble the Moussaka: add 4-5 tablespoons of the béchamel sauce to the meat mixture and mix. Layer the potatoes in a 13"X8.5" (33X22cm) ovenproof dish, then layer half of the eggplant. Pour the meat mixture and spread evenly. Layer the remaining eggplants and pour the béchamel sauce. Grate some Parmesan on top.
8. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 45 minutes before cutting.