Greek moussaka is perhaps one of the most classic – and famous – dishes of Greece, served in almost every taverna and home! It is considered the national dish and is traditionally made with lamb mince, however Yiayia’s version uses a mix of pork and beef layered with aubergine, courgette and potato, topped with a delicious béchamel sauce and baked until golden brown.
It makes a wonderful midweek meal that can be shared by the whole family. Serve on its own or with a simple green salad.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 40-45 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
400g of mince meat (best is combination of beef and pork mince)
200g chopped tomatoes
1 tsp tomato puree
½ tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
4 medium potatoes
3 large courgettes
2 large aubergines
2 tbsp sunflower oil and extra for brushing
For the béchamel sauce
6 heaped tbsp self-raising flour
125g grated hard cheese such as cheddar, haloumi, parmesan
2 tbsp margarine
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped onion and lightly sauté.
Add the mince meat and mix well. Add 2 tbsp of water and using a fork break up the mince meat. Cook until lightly browned.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, brown sugar, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to one side.
Peel the potatoes and place in a bowl of water.
Chop the ends off the courgettes and cut them lengthways, about 3mm deep. Place to one side.
Lightly peel the skin of the aubergines so each has 4-5 stripes. Cut them lengthways, about 3mm deep. Place in a bowl of water with 2 tbsp salt (Vasso says this will remove some of the bitterness). Leave to one side.
Cut the potatoes widthways, about 3mm deep so you have round slices. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan. Add the potato slices and lightly fry. You should not cook completely nor should they brown or become crispy. Remove from the frying pan and place on grease-proof paper.
Remove the aubergine strips from the bowl of water and squeeze out as much water as possible, but without squishing them too much!
Lightly brush sunflower oil on both sides of the courgettes and aubergines and place on grease-proof paper. Put under a preheated medium grill and cook each side for about 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
For ease, if you prefer you can fry the courgettes & aubergines in sunflower oil. However, Vasso would recommend grilling, as your final dish will be less oily.
Preheat the oven to 160 C.
Take your baking dish and line the base with the potatoes. Pat down.
Next add the courgettes creating a layer and pat down.
Add the mince meat and smooth down.
Then add the aubergines creating a layer and pat down.
Season with salt and pepper.
Leave to one side.
To make the béchamel sauce, firstly lightly heat the flour in a saucepan under a low heat. Make sure you stir all the time as you don’t want to over cook the flour. Just as you see the flour brown, add the milk and stir.
Beat the eggs and add this and the cheese and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir continuously under a low-medium heat. The contents should become thick and creamy. However, it might be necessary to add a bit more milk if it becomes too thick.
Pour the white sauce over the layer of aubergines. Smooth down.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 160 C.
Then cook for a further 20-25 minutes at 180 C or until brown on top.
You must keep an eye on your moussaka whilst it is in the oven. If you have a really strong oven the top may brown quickly. If so, then lightly cover with foil and ensure that your dish is cooked for at least 40 minutes in the oven.