A typical Greek dish, Moussaka is a delicious casserole made with eggplant and meat, loved by everyone fortunate enough to enjoy some time in the beautiful country of Greece. Layered as a lasagna, Greek moussaka is however a much heartier dish since the stacked ingredients are: a layer of potatoes, one of eggplant slices, ground meat cooked with tomato and onion, another eggplant layer and finally a generous amount of bechamel.
As with every popular dish, several variants of moussaka exist, so much so that it becomes difficult to trace the original recipe for Greek moussaka. For starters, neither potatoes nor bechamel are always used in this casserole. In the Greek version potatoes and eggplants are deep fried, but if you are looking for a light alternative you can also bake them; as for the meat, a lamb and beef mix is often used, or pork in replacement of the latter. Moussaka is a dish well known, with regional variants, in many east European countries such as Turkey and Bulgaria.
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Video recipe of the day
- Preparation time1 Minute
- Rest time10 Minutes
- Cooking time30 Minutes
- Serving4 servings
- Cooking methodOven
- SeasonalitySpring, Summer and Autumn
Ingredients for authentic Greek moussaka
- Power 623,03 (Kcal)
- Carbohydrates 42,75 (g) of which sugars 11,47 (g)
- Proteins 31,11 (g)
- Fat 37,35 (g) of which saturated 14,57 (g)of which unsaturated 13,21 (g)
- Fibers 9,03 (g)
- Sodium 1.270,70 (mg)
Indicative values for a portion of 292 g processed in an automated way starting from the nutritional information available on the CREA* and FoodData Central** databases. It is not food and / or nutritional advice.
* CREATES Food and Nutrition Research Center: https://www.crea.gov.it/alimenti-e-nutrizione https://www.alimentinutrizione.it ** U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov
How to make authentic Greek moussaka
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Making Greek moussaka is quite challenging, but don’t worry: if you plan properly, it won’t take longer than an hour until it’s ready to go into the oven! First, tackle the potatoes: peel them and cut them in quite thin slices.
Put them aside. Rinse the eggplants, remove the stem and the lower end and, in case they are very long, cut them in half. Cut them across the length in not too thin slices.
In a steel pot with thick bottom heat enough olive oil to deep fry the potato slices and proceed to do so for a few slices at a time. Let them fry for 3-4 minutes, then remove them with the tong or slotted spoon and place them on a sheet of drying paper.
Dab with more drying paper to absorb excess oil, then lightly salt them. Continue until all potatoes are fried and put them aside. In the same pot fry the eggplant slices as well, a few at a time.
Eggplants will take a couple minutes to properly cook, as soon as they are golden remove them from the oil and place them to dry on a sheet of paper, dabbing well because eggplants tend to absorb a lot of oil. Lightly salt the eggplant slices and set them aside.
Now for the meat: finely chop the onion and the carrot. Pour 3 tbsp of extra-virgin oil in a non-stick pan with thick bottom, heat it well and put the chopped onion and carrot.
Let it fry on low heat for a couple minutes, then add the ground meat, salt and let it cook for 5 minutes, using a spoon to spread it. When it is brown rise the heat to the max, add the wine and let it vanish.
Allow the wine to evaporate for a couple minutes, then lower the heat and add the tomato puree, a pinch of ground cinnamon and one of salt. Keep it on mild heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you get a thick sauce.
Get the bechamel and add a whole egg. The egg will allow you to get a thick and firm bechamel layer on the top, as it is typical for Greek moussaka. Stir with a spoon to mix the egg and the bechamel.
Now that all the ingredients are ready you can strat assembling the moussaka. Take the baking tray: you can use either a square (9 inch/22×22 cm) or rectangular one(10×8 inch/ 24×20 cm).
Without using any condiment on the bottom, start placing the first layer of potatoes, only slightly overlapping them.
Now add a layer of eggplant slices, even in this case only slightly overlapped (18).
Now start placing the ground meat in an even layer, with the help of the back-side of a spoon. Add some ground pecorino and add another layer of eggplants.
Cover well the meat layer, leaving no spaces. Finish the moussaka pouring the bechamel.
Bake the Greek moussaka in oven pre-heated at 356°F (180 °C) for 30 minutes, until the bechamel layer is golden. To help the final phase and get a crispy top, you can use the oven fan or grill for the last 3 or 4 minutes of cooking.
Take the moussaka from the oven and let it cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving: in this way you will be able to easily cut portions. It can be enjoyed either hot or at room temperature.
There’s a wonderful video recipe of the authentic potatoes and eggplant Greek moussaka on my YouTube channel – like and follow!
How to store Greek moussaka
Moussaka can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Before serving, just heat it in the microwave or oven.
If you want to make a lighter (and faster) moussaka, you can avoid frying the potatoes and eggplants and bake them. After preparing the slices put them in a tray covered with wax paper, brush with extra-virgin oil, salt and bake in oven heated at 392° F (200 °C). The potatoes will take 15 minutes to cook properly until golden, eggplants will take 8 to 10 minutes. For the remainder, follow the recipe as usual.
Tips and variants
The authentic cheese to be used for moussaka is rather hard to get outside of Greece, so in this recipe is replaced by pecorino.
As mentioned before, moussaka is popular also in other countries in east Europe: Turkish moussaka, for instance, uses only eggplants and doesn’t use bechamel. Bulgarian moussaka instead uses only potatoes and ground meat.