Greek moussaka (Mousakas)
The spices you have to use for this delicious greek specialty you may find them in cretaneshop.gr
- eggplants: 3-4
- potatoes: 4, peeled
- beef (or lamb): 500g, ground
- onions: 2 large, finely diced
- garlic: 2 cloves, minced
- red wine: ½ cup
- parsley: 1/4 cup, fresh, chopped
- tomato paste: 2 tablespoons
- crushed tomatoes (or tomato puree): 1 cup
- sugar: 1 teaspoon
- salt a bit
- pepper freshly ground
- breadcrumbs: 2 cups
- kefalotyri or parmesan cheese: 1 cup, grated
- For the bechamel sauce:
- butter: 1 cup
- flour 1 cup
- milk: 4 cups, warmed
- eggs: 4, lightly beaten
- ground nutmeg a pinch
- Slice eggplants into 1/2 inch slices, salt them and place them in a colander in the sink for 20 minutes (the salt helps to remove some of the bitterness). Boil the potatoes whole until they are just done and slice them in 1/4 inch slices. Preheat the oven to 200oC. Lightly grease a big flat plate and add breadcrumbs on it. Rinse the eggplants, dry them and fry in hot olive oil, from both sides until colored.
- In a large sauté pan, brown the ground beef (or lamb). Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add wine and allow it to simmer. Add parsley, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and sugar. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes so that excess liquid can evaporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Make the béchamel: Melt butter over low heat. Using a whisk, add flour whisking continuously to make a smooth paste. Add warmed milk to mixture whisking continuously. Simmer over low heat until it thickens a bit but does not boil. Remove from heat and stir in the beaten eggs and a pinch of nutmeg. Return to heat and stir until sauce thickens.
- Place the potatoes in the flat pan. Top with a layer of eggplant slices. Add meat sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated cheese. Top with another layer of eggplant slices and sprinkle once again with 1/4 of the grated cheese. Pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplants, smooth on top with a spatula and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Bake in a 180-200°C oven for 45-50 minutes or until béchamel sauce gets a nice golden brown color. Allow to cool for 15–20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Mousakas is by all means the most famous and best selling Greek specialty. The layers of ground beef, potatoes, eggplant and béchamel are simply superb.