Moussaka is a recipe typically found in regions of the Levant, the Middle East, and the Balkans. It is an eggplant or potato based dish that often includes layers of ground meat and is topped with a white sauce and baked until golden. This recipe for Moussaka sticks true to the traditional preparation and features a layer of lightly fried potatoes covered with a layer of savory ground beef. The beef layer is topped with fried or roasted eggplant and covered with a creamy manchego cheese bechamel sauce.
- 3 eggplant (medium)
- vegetable oil
- 2 onions (large, diced)
- 4 garlic cloves (diced)
- 800 grams ground beef
- 500 grams crushed tomatoes
- 4 ounces red wine
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 500 grams potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 50 grams butter
- 110 grams flour
- 750 grams milk
- ground nutmeg
- 250 grams manchego cheese (grated)
- Slice the eggplants about 1/2 a finger thick and lay them in layers in a colander. Salt generously between layers. Let rest 1 hour for them to release any bitterness, then dry them with paper towels.
- Either fry them golden or baste them with olive oil and bake them golden in a 180 degree Celsius oven. Set aside.
- In a skillet with a little oil, saute the onion and garlic together until soft.
- Add in the ground beef and saute another 10 minutes.
- Then add the crushed tomato, red wine, and cinnamon. Stir occasionally while simmering 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Salt to taste.
- In a separate pan, add the potatoes (sliced 1/2 centimeter thick). Slowly fry them until soft. Set aside.
- In another skillet, make the bechamel sauce. Heat up the olive oil and butter.
- Sift in the flour and stir until it is toasted and absorbed. Press out any lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Slowly whisk in the milk, nutmeg, and salt to taste and continue stirring on medium heat until thickens. The sauce should coat the back of the spoon.
- Lastly, melt in 50 grams of manchego cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- In a large casserole dish, lay down the potatoes. Cover with the ground beef mixture and top with the eggplant.
- Pour the bechamel sauce over the vegetables and meat and top with the remaining 200 grams of manchego cheese.
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes