Classic Greek Moussaka: Layers Of Flavor And Comfort

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Moussaka, a layered masterpiece from Greece, is a dish that explodes with flavor and texture. This hearty casserole combines savory ground meat, creamy béchamel sauce, and tender eggplant slices for a truly satisfying meal. While seemingly complex, moussaka is surprisingly easy to prepare at home.

This recipe will guide you through every step, from prepping the eggplant to achieving that perfect golden brown crust. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to impress your family and friends with a taste of Greece!

Moussaka (Greek Beef and Eggplant Lasagna) - RecipeTin Eats
Moussaka (Greek Beef and Eggplant Lasagna) – RecipeTin Eats

Ingredients:

For the Bechamel Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • For the Meat Layer:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (optional)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the Eggplant Layer:
  • 2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt

  • Directions:

    1. Prepare the Bechamel Sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in warm milk, a little at a time, until smooth and thickened. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly. Season with nutmeg, pepper, and salt to taste. Set aside.

    2. Prepare the Eggplant: Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and let sit for 30 minutes to draw out excess moisture. Pat the slices dry with paper towels.

    3. Brown the Eggplant: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

    4. Cook the Meat Layer: Heat olive oil in the same skillet used for the eggplant. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add ground meat and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned.

    5. Deglaze the Pan (Optional): If using red wine, add it to the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Let the wine simmer for a minute, allowing it to reduce slightly.

    6. Simmer the Meat Sauce: Stir in diced tomatoes, water, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, and cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

    7. Assemble the Moussaka: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the dish. Top with a layer of browned eggplant slices, arranging them slightly overlapping.

    8. Layer and Bake: Repeat steps 7 and 8, alternating meat sauce and eggplant slices, until all ingredients are used. Top with the remaining béchamel sauce, spreading it evenly over the entire surface.

    9. Bake and Broil: Bake the moussaka for 45 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Increase oven temperature to broil and broil for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

    10. Cool and Serve: Remove the moussaka from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the layers to set and prevents the dish from falling apart when cut.

    Nutrition Facts:

    (Please note that this is an approximate nutritional value per serving, and may vary depending on the specific ingredients used.)

    Calories: 450

  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30g