When I think of my childhood, this dish comes to mind as it was a family favourite. Not to mention a dish that is requested by friends when visiting. Moussaka is packed with flavour and the golden top layer is extremely satisfying.
Ingredients for moussaka
Vegetables – Ingredients
- 2 – 3 large potatoes (sliced)
- 2 – 3 large eggplants (sliced)
- 2 – 3 large zucchinis (sliced)
- olive oil for brushing
Meat Sauce – Ingredients 1 kg lamb (mince)
- 2 – 3 large onions (chopped)
- 4 – 5 cloves garlic (chopped)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon paprika (mild)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup of water
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
Béchamel Sauce – Ingredients
- 1-litre milk
- 150g butter
- ½ cup plain flour (sifted)
- 1 whole egg (beaten)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
Additions ½ cup bread crumbs – to be used as a base for Moussaka
Instructions for moussaka
- Vegetables – Steps
Peel and slice (approx. 2cm thick) vegetables (potatoes, zucchinis and eggplants).
Pour salt over zucchinis and eggplants.
Place sliced potatoes in a bowl of water.
Brush olive oil (both sides) on zucchini slices.
Empty potato water and add salt to potatoes.
Brush olive oil on both sides of salted potatoes.
Discard eggplant water (doing so removes bitter taste) and brush olive oil on both sides.
Grill vegetables on both sides (approx. 5 minutes on each side), set aside.
- Meat Sauce – Steps
Add olive oil to the hot pot.
Once oil sizzles add garlic and onions – mixing both ingredients until translucent.
Pull apart mincemeat, adding into the mixture – mixing ingredients.
Add salt and pepper (to taste), continuing mixing ingredients.
Once meat juices have almost dissolved add white wine and continue to mix ingredients.
Cover pot for 5 minutes, allowing mixture juices to reduce.
Add can tomatoes and tomato puree – mixing ingredients.
Add tablespoon paprika and 1 cup of water – mixing ingredients.
Turn heat to low for a further 5 minutes – mixing ingredients.
Turn heat off – mixing ingredients, cover pot and set aside until required.
- Béchamel Sauce – Steps
Add butter to hot pot. Stirring until butter has fully dissolved.
Sift flour into the pot, continuing to stir slowly at the same time.
Continue stirring until mixture begins to change colour (brown colour).
Slowly add milk, continuing to stir slowly at the same time.
The mixture will begin to thicken, add 1 beaten whole egg to the mixture – stirring fast.
Add salt and pepper (to taste), continuing to stir slowly.
Once the mixture thickens, remove the pot from heat, set aside until required.
- Moussaka Assembly
Add bread crumbs to the base of baking dish (spreading evenly).
Lay grilled potatoes layer neatly and then apply a layer of meat sauce.
Apply the zucchini layer and then apply a layer of meat sauce.
Ensure the meat layer is spread evenly over vegetables, adding eggplant to top of meat sauce layer.
Pour remaining meat sauce over eggplant, spreading evenly over eggplants.
Top with the béchamel sauce, smoothing evenly with a spatula.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 60 minutes, until top crust turns light golden brown.
Allow moussaka to cool before serving.
Tips for Moussaka
- Allow sliced eggplant to soak in water for up to 15 minutes before discarding old water; Doing so, will remove eggplant bitterness.
- Grill vegetables until tender (approximately 10 minutes).
- To save time, you can make the meat sauce the night before and heat up as required the following day.
- Moussaka holds well for up to 3 days (in a sealed container).