Classic Moussaka: A Layered Delight With Eggplant And Potatoes

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Moussaka, a quintessential Greek dish, is a symphony of savory ground meat, creamy béchamel sauce, and tender vegetables. This recipe takes you through the steps of creating this delicious layered masterpiece, perfect for a comforting family meal or an impressive potluck dish.

Ingredients:

Eggplant and potato moussaka
Eggplant and potato moussaka

For the Meat Sauce:

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 red wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 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

  • For the Béchamel Sauce:

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • For Topping:

    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • Instructions:

    1. Prepare the Eggplant:

    First, preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly salt both sides of the eggplant slices and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until softened and lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to drain on paper towels.

    2. Cook the Meat Sauce:

    In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.

    Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground meat. Brown the meat, breaking it up with a spoon, for 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess fat using a colander.

    Return the meat to the pot and add the diced tomatoes, red wine (if using), tomato paste, oregano, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly.

    3. Make the Béchamel Sauce:

    In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, to form a roux. Slowly whisk in the warmed milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated.

    Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue whisking frequently until the sauce thickens and becomes smooth, about 5-7 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.

    4. Assemble the Moussaka:

    Spread a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with a layer of drained eggplant slices, arranging them in a slightly overlapping pattern. Repeat with another layer of meat sauce, followed by a final layer of eggplant slices.

    Pour the béchamel sauce evenly over the top, spreading it to the edges. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs.

    5. Bake and Serve:

    Bake the moussaka for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly on top. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. This allows the layers to set and prevents the dish from falling apart when cut.

    Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

    (Note: This is an approximate estimation and may vary depending on the specific ingredients used)

    Calories: 500

  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 75mg
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Protein: 30g

  • Conclusion

    Moussaka is a delightful dish that combines savory flavors and satisfying textures. The tender eggplant, rich meat sauce, and creamy béchamel create a truly memorable culinary experience. With a little planning and effort, you can create this restaurant-worthy dish in the comfort of your own home.

    FAQs:

    1. Can I use a different type of ground meat?