Making moussaka is no small task, as there are a lot of different parts that go into making it, but once you have all the different parts prepped it’s pretty much just layering as you would when making lasagna. Roasted eggplant, potatoes, beef and lamb sauce and béchamel are layered for a filling and delicious Greek entrée.
I choose to use American-raised lamb in my recipes rather than lamb imported from New Zealand or Australia because I try my best to support local farms and businesses and love sourcing ingredients from as close as possible.
The logic is simple – the closer, the fresher because there is less time spent in transport. And the fresher the lamb, the better the taste so be sure to ask your butcher if the lamb is American raised. If you don’t see the cut you are looking for, be sure to ask. Some cuts are kept in other refrigerators or freezers.
When buying ground lamb look for lamb that is pink in color and, to make sure ground lamb is consumed at its peak, use it within two days of purchasing.
This recipe reminds me of a trip I took to Greece with my family in July of 2010. While we did all the touristy things in Athens, my favorite part of the trip was staying at a small bed and breakfast, Kavos Bay, on the island of Aegina. It was right on a cliff overlooking the bright blue ocean and since it was summer all the flowers were in bloom, covering everything in bright pink pops of color.
We would sit around on the patio drinking Mythos (Greek beer) and eating plenty of baklava then wandering down to the beach to lay out on the giant rocks. The Greek family that ran the bed and breakfast cooked for us on a few of the nights we were staying there and one of my favorite dishes was the moussaka.
Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for an additional minute.
Add the lamb and ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in the tomato paste then add the wine and cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated.
Add the tomatoes, cinnamon stick and bay leaves and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Remove from heat and cover.
For the béchamel:
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the flour and stir to combine, let cook about 1 minute, to cook the flour taste off.
Add the milk and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the sauce has slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg, stirring to combine. Next, stir in the Parmesan and salt until completely combined, then remove the pot from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
Add the mixture to a blender with the eggs and puree until completely combined. Add back to the pot and set aside.
For the eggplant:
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Lay the eggplant out on sheets of paper towels and sprinkle with salt to drain for 30 minutes.
Toss the eggplant in the oil and arrange in a single layer on an parchment paper lined baking sheet. Season with pepper and bake until golden brown and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes; cook until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain; set aside.
Lower the oven heat to 375º.
Spread 1 cup of the béchamel on the bottom of a 10″ x 14″ baking dish. Next, evenly arrange the potatoes over the top then spread the meat sauce over the potatoes.
Arrange the eggplant in an even layer then spread the remaining béchamel over the top. Sprinkle with the Gruyère cheese; bake until golden brown, about 1 hour.
Garnish with parsley. And cut into squares to serve.
DID YOU MAKE THIS?
TAG ME ON INSTAGRAM TO BE FEATURED ON MY STORIES!