Moussaka (Greek Eggplant Casserole)


A classic Greek dish, famous throughout the world, and a favorite at Greek restaurants and festivals. Delicious eggplant layered with a spicy tomato sauce and topped off with a Parmesan flavored egg custard. A feast for the eyes and the palate!

This dish is incredibly delicious! It will change the mind of the most fervent eggplant hater.

Susan Tweeton

Ingredients

Meat Sauce

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb 
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2–4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • ¾-1 cup water or broth (may substitute up to ½ cup wine for water or broth)
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Greek oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Eggplant

  • 3 large eggplants
  • Vegetable oil
  • Flour (optional)
  • Egg (optional) 

Cream Sauce

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups warmed milk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Dash nutmeg
  • Salt to taste

Directions

Meat Sauce Preparation:

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent; do not brown.
  2. In separate pan, brown ground beef or lamb; drain well. 
  3. Add browned ground meat, tomato paste, water, broth, or wine, nutmeg, allspice cinnamon, and oregano to onion mixture. 
  4. Simmer about 20 minutes over medium heat; sauce will not be juicy.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper (do not over salt).

Cream Sauce Preparation:

  1. Melt butter and stir in flour.
  2. Cook over medium/low heat, stirring until mixture is well blended and bubbling.
  3. Off heat, add warmed milk slowly and stir continuously until sauce is well blended and thickened.
  4. Sauce will be quite thick.
  5. Season lightly with salt.
  6. Allow sauce to cool.
  7. Add beaten eggs to sauce; stir until all sauce is blended with eggs.
  8. Stir in ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and dash nutmeg.

Eggplant Preparation:

  1. If desired, peel eggplant.
  2. Slice into 1/3-½ inch rounds.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of slices heavily with salt.
  4. Set aside on paper towels to absorb moisture for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse eggplant slices and blot completely dry.
  6. Choose a browning method for eggplant:
  7. Baked – Brush eggplant slices with oil and bake in 425° oven, turning once, until both sides are golden brown (about 10 minutes per side); do not overcook.
  8. Broiled – Brush eggplant slices with oil and broil, turning once, until both sides are golden brown (about 5-7 minutes per side); do not overcook.
  9. Fried – Coat the eggplant pieces generously with flour (if desired, dip slices in egg wash and flour a second time); heat oil in a skillet and fry eggplant, turning once, until golden brown; do not overcook; drain well on paper towels.

Moussaka Assembly:

  1. Brush bottom and sides of deep 13” x 9” baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Place ½ of eggplant slices onto bottom of pan; cut slices to fit so that the entire surface is completely covered with eggplant.
  3. Spoon meat mixture over eggplant.
  4. Top with remaining eggplant slices; cut slices to fit so that the entire surface is completely covered with eggplant.
  5. Pour cream sauce over all; spread evenly to completely cover all the eggplant.
  6. Bake at 350° for 60 minutes (the top should be set, slightly puffy, and nicely browned).
  7. Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

Variations

Potato:

For easier serving and a firmer texture, potatoes may be substituted for part or for all of the eggplant. Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/3-½ inch thick slices and fry before assembling the casserole. Place potato layer on bottom of casserole.

Summer Squash:

Summer squash (zucchini, crookneck, pattypan, etc.)  may be substituted for part or for all of the eggplant. Cut squash lengthwise into 1/3-½ inch thick slices and either fry or bake before assembling the casserole. Do not overcook squash, and do not use overgrown squash with large seeds.


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