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Traditional Greek Moussaka

Traditional Greek Moussaka

What can I say about moussaka? I am sure that most of you are familiar with this famous Greek food. Moussaka is maybe the most famous Greek food (along with souvlaki of course) and many of you have probably tasted it either to a visit in Greece or to a Greek restaurant somewhere in the world. The only thing I can say is that it is worth its famous name! It is a really really really tasty food! So juicy and flavorful it is the definition of comfort food.

Moussaka consists of four delicious layers. Potatoes , eggplants, meat sauce and for the top creamy bechamel sauce. It is possible that you will find a lot of different recipes all over the web (with eggplants only, with a different sauce on top and so go on….) but believe me this is an original traditional recipe. This is the way my family makes moussaka for over 50 years! It is true that it is not an easy or quick meal but if you can find a little more time to cook and offer something special to your family please try it!

Traditional Greek Moussaka

Organizing preparations is necessary so you will not be confused or frustrated with all the procedure. The first thing to do is to make the meat sauce. Heat the olive oil, saute the onion and the garlic, add the ground meat and saute until fully browned, add the tomato, the spices and water and let cook for about an hour. While the meat sauce is cooking, start bake the potatoes and the eggplants. Bechamel should be the last preparation just before you are ready to assemble the moussaka.It is not so difficult but time is for sure necessary!

Don’t be afraid of the many stages! It is worth all the effort! I am sure that if you tried once it will be a lot easier the next time!

Enjoy!!!

Traditional Greek Moussaka

Traditional Greek Moussaka

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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 3 hours Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1-1,5 kg big potatoes
  • 2-3 big eggplants
  • 1 cup kefalotyri cheese, grated
  • for ground meat
  • 500 gr ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, grated
  • 1/3 cup slightly concentrated tomato juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 allspice berries
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • for the bechamel sauce
  • 1 liter whole milk
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 135 gr all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup kefalotyri cheese, grated
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • pepper

Instructions

1

First you have to prepare the meat sauce.

2

In a deep saute pan or a large sauce pan heat the olive oil over high heat.

3

Add the chopped onion and the garlic and saute for about 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously.

4

Add the ground beef and saute until fully browned, stirring continuously and breaking up any lumps that may exist.

5

Add the grated tomato, tomato juice, parsley, cinnamon stick, allspice, nutmeg, salt, pepper and 2 cups of warm water.

6

Cook over medium heat for about 1 hour until the most of the liquid is evaporated.

7

Maybe the water will evaporate sooner than the 1 hour that meat has to be cooked so check often about water and add some if needed.

8

The meat sauce should be thick and without excess liquid.

9

While the meat sauce is cooking, prepare the vegetables.

10

Wash the potatoes and the eggplants.

11

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and grease them with olive oil.

12

Peel the potatoes and slice them lengthwise.

13

Arrange them on one baking sheet (single layer) and brush them with olive oil.

14

Bake at 200°C for 1 hour (turn them upside down at 40 minutes of baking).

15

Remove from the oven, season with salt and set aside.

16

Peel the eggplants and slice them lengthwise.

17

Arrange them on one baking sheet (single layer) and brush them with olive oil.

18

Bake at 200°C for 1 hour (turn them upside down at 40 minutes of baking).

19

Remove from the oven, season with salt and set aside.

20

Now it is time for bechamel sauce.

21

Keep 1 cup of the milk and heat the remaining over medium heat, stirring often.

22

Add the olive oil and salt.

23

In a bowl whisk together the 1 cup of milk and the flour until well combined.

24

When the milk starts simmering add the milk/flour mixture slowly whisking continuously until the bechamel thickens.

25

Cook over medium low heat until boiling point. Cook for 3 more minutes and remove from the heat.

26

Let the bechamel cool down for 5 minutes whisking often to prevent skin form.

27

Add the grated cheese,nutmeg, pepper and the egg and whisk to incorporate.

28

Assemble the moussaka.

29

In a 33x20 cm baking pan make one layer of potatoes trying not to leave empty spaces between them. You can add extra potatoes to cover any empty spaces.

30

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the grated kefalotyri.

31

Make another layer with eggplants.

32

Sprinkle again with another 1/4 cup of grated kefalotyri.

33

Remove cinnamon stick and allspice berries from the meat sauce.

34

Add the meat sauce over the eggplants and spread it evenly.

35

Cover with bechamel sauce and smooth out with a spatula.

36

Drizzle with little olive oil and with your hands spread it to the whole surface.

37

Bake at 180°C for 1 hour until golden brown.

38

Let the Moussaka cool down for about an hour before cutting into pieces to serve.

Traditional Greek Moussaka

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