Moussaka recipe
Main Course

Moussaka

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Moussaka recipeThis was my second attempt at Moussaka; the first, which I made in Spring 2009, was very close to Papa Georges. Unfortunately, I didn’t record the recipe – much to my surprise (horror!). Must have been an oversight. I’m really surprised I didn’t record it – that was utter stupidity.  It was as close to spot on as I’d have expected to be able to come, except the Bechamel sauce. Tried to locate the same recipe online and this one was the closest I could come. Not as good, but we can work with it. The Bechamel sauce was pretty good this time though, with my modifications (based on research). I’ll keep looking for the original (which I have already been doing, over and over and over…).  In the meantime, the recipe I used now is below, my version, per my modifications, is the first version.

My Version of the Moussaka Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 yellow onions, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (someone suggested using 2- 3 cloves. sounds right. I used pre chopped garlic from jar – a little more than one clove’s worth, per jar instructions).
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (someone said this should be increased to 1/2 tsp. I did increase it, but not sure if I went all the way to half. I would do 1/2 tsp for sure next time, if not more. The flavor did need a little more punch, not sure whether it needed more cinnamon or nutmeg to get there. Will have to experiment with this to determine).
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (increase this for more flavor…?)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fines herbs (oregano, basic, pinch of thyme – could leave out the thyme potentially) (Someone suggested using Italian seasoning – did I do that in the last recipe?  Almost sounds familiar. Maybe try that next time). (someone else suggested this mix: I substituted 1/4 tsp. oregano + 1/2 tsp. basil + 1/4 tsp. thyme for the fines herbs)
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (I used a but more)
  • 1/2 cup red wine (other recipes say could use white wine, but I did use red – maybe try white next time just to see?)
  • 1 egg, beaten for ground beefSomeone suggested adding big pinch of sugar to cut acidity – i didnt do this and it seemed fine, but could try in future, maybe it will kick upo the flavour more?)
  • 3 eggs, seperated, for bechamel
  •  4 cups milk (I used skim, it worked just fine)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

Someone suggested making the meat mixture a day in advance to allow the flavours to come out. I didnt do this, but its a good idea – do that next time; gives better flavor.

Someone suggested not doing the top layer of eggplant and said she thought that they didn’t do that in Greece when she was there. I thought Papa Geoges didnt do tht either, but I went ahead and did the 2nd layer, and I’d do it again. You barely notice it when its there, but I think it gives it more flavor. For all I know, Papa Georges does do it, but You just dont notice it.

  1. Lay the slices of eggplant on paper towels, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture.
  2. Lightly brush eggplant with olive oil (or not), microwave for a couple of minutes, til tender, but not overcooked and not mushy. Some of the egg plant I omitted the olive oil and it cooked fine in the mic – just watch it to avoid overcooking. Egg plant does soak up a lot of oil so better to avoid the oil if possible I think.
  3. In a large skillet saute onions, and garlic, then cook the ground beef. After the beef is browned, drain fat, then sprinkle in the cinnamon, nutmeg, fines herbs and parsley. Pour in the tomato sauce and wine, and mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes. If there is excess liquid, drain it. Allow to cool, and then stir in beaten egg.
  4. To make the bechamel sauce, begin by scalding the milk in a saucepan (or heat in microwave til hot). Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Gradually whisk in flour until smooth. Lower heat; gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly until it thickens. If need be, pour into a 4 cup measure or a large bowl, and whisk briskly to remove lumps, then return to pan. Season with salt, and white pepper (I omitted).Then I stirred in 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (could do 1/3, but I did 1/2).  Remove sauce form stove and let cool a bit, then stir in 3 egg yolks, followed by 3 egg whites (beaten, I beat with whisk, someone suggests beating with mixer til soft peaks form, although it worked out very nicely even the way I did it).  (I added all the yolks together, and beat them before adding in, but someone said add them one at a time and mix in between, and they didnt say anything about beating them). (One person also said they discared the yolks and just did the whites, one person said they used just 2 eggs, and one person said they didnt bother seperating the yolks from the whites with the three eggs – just beat them and put them in).  Another recipe suggested adding some nutmeg to the sauce for flavor. I added just a dash, I think it could use more next time to kick upo the flaovor just a little.

  5. Arrange a layer of eggplant in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. You may want to lightly spray bottom on dish so eggplant doesnt stick, but if you’ve brushed the eggplant in olive oil when cooking it should be okay. Cover eggplant with all of the meat mixture, and then sprinkle 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese over the meat. Cover with remaining eggplant, and sprinkle another 1/2 cup of cheese on top. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top, and sprinkle lightly with the nutmeg (and next time I would add cinnamon to top as well). Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

(other suggestions for seasoning:  havent tried this combo)

1 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground allspice

2 garlic cloves, minced

black pepper

1/2 c. red dry wine

1 large can chopped tomatoes

1 t. tomatoe paste

4 T. fresh chopped parsley

1 T. dried oregano

Also saw in other recipes:

1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. ground allspice

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As published:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Moussaka/Detail.aspx

Ingredients

  • 3 eggplants, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fines herbs
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • salt to taste
  • ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

  1. Lay the slices of eggplant on paper towels, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture. Then in a skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil. Quickly fry the eggplant until browned. Set aside on paper towels to drain.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the ground beef, salt and pepper to taste, onions, and garlic. After the beef is browned, sprinkle in the cinnamon, nutmeg, fines herbs and parsley. Pour in the tomato sauce and wine, and mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and then stir in beaten egg.
  3. To make the bechamel sauce, begin by scalding the milk in a saucepan. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Lower heat; gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly until it thickens. Season with salt, and white pepper.
  4. Arrange a layer of eggplant in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover eggplant with all of the meat mixture, and then sprinkle 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese over the meat. Cover with remaining eggplant, and sprinkle another 1/2 cup of cheese on top. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the nutmeg. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  5. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

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