Moussaka

Learn how to make this classic Greek dish at home.

Moussaka at The Real Greek

There are plenty of variations on how to make Moussaka and this is The Real Greek‘s version, prepared by Tonia Buxton. Meat, potatoes and aubergine are the main ingredients that characterise Moussaka but there is plenty of leeway as to what you can add to yours. For example, in the height of summer Greeks use the glut that comes from their vegetable gardens, such as courgettes, spinach or tomatoes.

Moussaka is a great candidate for bulk cooking. If you were to go down that route, it’s best to do it in logical phases. First prepare the Kemas (Κιμάς), which is the meat mixture. After that the béchamel sauce and then cooking each vegetable respectively. It doesn’t matter whether any of the components cool down afterwards, in fact, it’s actually ideal because it makes constructing the final dish much easier and faster.

Tonia Buxton prepares moussaka

As you can see in the photos, preparing the lamb mince is straightforward. Mind you, you don’t always have to use lamb. Almost any type of meat can be used, from pork and veal to turkey and chicken. In the Volos region in central Greece where they have lots of cattle they use beef. Cinnamon definitely needs to be used and at the end of cooking chopped parsley can be added to the mixture and left to wilt a bit. At this stage you can freeze the meat if you don’t want to use it immediately.

Adding red onionsAdding garlic to onionsFried onionsAdd mince to onionsFrying lamb minceAdd chopped tomatoes to meatCinnamon stick added to meat mixture

There is nothing unique about the béchamel sauce. Other than adding some ground cinnamon to it just follow the instructions and let it cool down. What you don’t want is lumpy sauce but if it curdles due to cooling down, don’t fret, because it will cook again in the oven and even out and no would be the wiser.

Now for the vegetables. As we all know, anything fried tastes good. So for the best results, fry your potatoes, aubergines and courgettes – separately, of course. If you’d like your Moussaka to be healthier and less calorific, grill or bake them in the oven.

In this recipe, boiled new potatoes were used. Traditionally, big Greek or Cypriot potatoes work best because they never break down. Depending on the variety you use, you can leave the skin on which will lead to more flavour and nutrients in the dish.

Frying auberginesCrushed new potatoesAubergine layerAdding meat layerMeat layer of moussakaAdding béchamel sauce layerPreparing moussaka

Traditionally, deep and large ovenproof dishes are used, which makes double “layers” possible. Starting from the bottom it would be potatoes, aubergines, meat, potatoes, aubergines, meat and béchamel sauce. However, if you’re using small dishes, like in this case, only one layer would be possible but will taste just as good!

Grated kassari cheese on top of moussaka

Sprinkle the Moussaka with some cheese. Traditionally kassari, haloumi or kefalotiri is used. If you can’t get hold of them French gruyère will work as a substitute. If all else fails, use cheddar.

Eating moussakaIf you make Moussaka the night before, it will taste better. Unbaked at room temperature it would take 45 minutes at 180°C to cook. Unbaked, it will keep up to 3 months in freezer. Cooked, it will keep for 3 days in the fridge. To reheat, for best results cover the Moussaka with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes at 160°C.

There you have it! I suggest you follow the recipe the first time round and the next (and next and next) time start playing to suit to your taste!

Get Your Inner Greek Going

Moussaka
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6
  • Serving size: 789.8g
  • Calories: 824
  • Fat: 49.3g
  • Saturated fat: 24.2g
  • Unsaturated fat: 0
  • Trans fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 55.8g
  • Sugar: 15.6g
  • Sodium: 520mg
  • Fiber: 8.6g
  • Protein: 42.5g
  • Cholesterol: 103mg

Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

A classic Greek dish that will leave you yearning for more.
Ingredients
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 kg (2lbs) lamb mince
  • 250g (½lb) onions chopped
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon
  • 2.5ml (½ tsp) sea salt
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) tomato puree
  • 400g (1lb) passata
  • 50g (2 oz) butter
  • 50ml (4 tbsp) corn flour
  • 600ml (1 pint) warm milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g (2oz) grated cheese, such as haloumi, kefalotiri, kassari or strong cheddar.
  • 3 aubergines, cut lengthways in 1cm slices
  • 1kg (2lbs) potatoes, cut in 1cm slices
Instructions
  1. In a large pan add olive oil & onions & sauté until translucent.
  2. Add the lamb & cook until browned on a low heat.
  3. Add the seasoning & cinnamon.
  4. Add the tomato puree & passata. Optional: add a splash of red wine. Simmer with lid on for 20 minutes.
  5. For the sauce, warm ¾ of the milk with the butter.
  6. Mix the remaining milk with the corn flour, and then beat in the eggs and add the grated cheese and cinnamon.
  7. Take some of the warm milk and mix with the egg mixture, then slowly stir it all into the pan on the heat. Stir till it thickens to a custard mixture.
  8. Bake, grill or fry the slices of potatoes and aubergine, respectively.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  10. Place the potatoes at the bottom layer of an ovenproof dish, then layer the aubergine slices.
  11. Top the vegetables with mince mixture and finish off with a layer of béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with some cheese if you like.
  12. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Done!
Notes
Serve with Greek Salad and warm flatbreads.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I absolutely adore moussaka although I must admit it’s not something I make often at home – generally I buy an M&S one if it’s a gotta-have-a-ready-meal kind of occasion. Love the dinky portions, I wish I had a freezer big enough to make stuff like this in bulk.

  2. says

    You have just made me very very hungry sitting here at my desk Michelle! Like Jac says it’s great to see your step-by-step pictures of the dish being cooked… I haven’t had moussaka for ages and it would be fabulous to fill the freezer with mini ones for the boys to enjoy!

  3. says

    I love these individual servings of Moussaka! I usually make that standard bulk batch which requires a large casserole dish. Since it’s just the two of use, the leftovers take up a lot of room in the fridge. I will be trying you method as well as your delicious looking recipe!

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