FB Plugin

Friday, September 16, 2011


Pronouced "moo-sah-KAH", it's Greek for "lasagne".  Not really, but it's like Greek lasagne.  It's a meat-and-eggplant layered casserole with cheese souffle on top, but no pasta, and it is exquisite.

I first experienced this dish in Greece on a high school Classics Club trip (yeah, Latin nerd right here), later at Primo's in Alexandria, VA, the Trojan Horse in Bloomington, IN and the Greek Fest in Boca Raton, FL and have cooked it from the Frugal Gourmet's Three Ancient Cuisines recipe since.  I count moussaka among the first "real" dishes I learned to cook, and it has never disappointed.

You can make your own homemade tomato sauce (I don't) or use store-bought spaghetti sauce (I do).  The Frug's recipe for "Greek Tomato Sauce" calls for allspice which most spaghetti sauces don't use, so I simmer the moussaka meat sauce with a few allspice berries to incorporate that flavor.

Like all layered casseroles, you can build this recipe in a variety of sizes: 1 13x9 or 2 8x8 or 4 8x4 pans.

Makes 10-12 servings

2 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise 1/2" thick
cooking spray
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 lbs. ground meat (lamb, beef, turkey, chicken or a combination)
3 cups tomato sauce or 1 25 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
2 tbsp red wine (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
large pinch cinnamon + 3-4 whole allspice berries
1 cup feta, romano or parmesan cheese
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 cups milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup parmesan or romano
salt to taste
6 eggs, lightly beaten

Coat eggplant slices with cooking spray, and roast 20 minutes at 350F or grill them 5 minutes per side until softened.

Heat olive oil in a 3 quart or larger pot.  Saute onions until soft, 7-10 minutes.  Add ground meat and brown well.  Add tomato sauce (if using wine and commercially prepared sauce, pour wine into jar and slosh it around to dissolve any leftover sauce before pouring into the pot), spices and salt.  Heat to simmering and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  Remove allspice berries and stir in cheese.

Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat.  Whisk in flour, cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in milk slowly until thoroughly incorporated.  Stir in nutmeg, cheese and taste for salt.  Raise heat to medium-high, and whisk occasionally to keep milk from browning until bubbles form around the edge of the pot.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Ladle 1 cup of hot milk mixture into eggs while beating to prevent the eggs from scrambling.  Slowly pour the hot eggs into the pot, whisking all the while.  Cook until thick like pudding, about 5 minutes.

To assemble moussaka, layer 1/2 the eggplant in the bottom of your preferred dish.  Spread all the meat filling on top, then layer the remaining eggplant over that.  Pour the egg mixture on top.  Fridge or freeze (well wrapped), if desired. 

To cook, thaw completely.  Bake 1 hour at 350F, uncovered, until the top puffs a bit and browns. Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment