The easiest way to describe moussaka is eggplant lasagne - in place of pasta sheets, it has sweet and juicy slabs of pan-fried eggplant.
- 3 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) rounds
- 2 cups (500 ml) olive oil, for frying
- 2 large yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1-inch (2.5 cm) rounds
- 1 ¼ cups grated kefalotyri or parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, grated
- 700 g ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups (500 ml) pureed canned tomatoes
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) red wine
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground clove
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ⅛ tsp oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups (1L) milk
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 75 g butter
- ¾ cup (112 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Salting time: 30 mins
- Trim the eggplants and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) rounds. Put rounds in a bowl and cover with salt. Let rounds sit for 30 minutes, then rinse off the salt and drain.
- Heat 1 cup of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add the eggplant rounds and cook, turning occasionally, until soft and lightly browned on both sides. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
- In a separate skillet, add remaining cup of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and repeat process with potato rounds.
- For the meat sauce, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté. Add beef and sauté until browned. Add canned tomatoes, red wine, cinnamon, clove, allspice, oregano, and bay leaf. Simmer for 45 minutes on low heat. When finished, remove bay leaf from meat sauce.
- In the meantime, make the béchamel sauce by adding milk and nutmeg to a saucepan over low heat. In a second, large saucepan, heat butter until melted over low heat, whisking. Add flour to butter and continue whisking for 5 minutes. Slowly add the warm milk mixture to the saucepan with the butter, whisking constantly. Cook on a very low heat until the mixture becomes quite thick and smooth. Season with salt.
- Beat eggs together in a small bowl. Add a few tbsp of the warm sauce to the eggs and stir to combine, then add the entire egg mixture to the saucepan. Remove from heat and continue whisking the mixture for a minute or two. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
- Add a couple of spoonfuls of the meat sauce to thinly coat the bottom of the baking pan. Place an even layer of fried potato slices to the bottom of the baking pan. Now add a layer of eggplant rounds on top of the potatoes. Spread beef mixture over the layer of eggplants, then cover the beef mixture with another layer of eggplants.
- Carefully pour béchamel sauce over top, creating a layer that evenly covers the eggplant. Sprinkle cheese in an even layer over the béchamel. Put in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the cheese and béchamel sauce are golden brown.
- Allow to rest for ten minutes, sprinkle with fresh parsley, salt, and freshly ground pepper, and then cut.