Moussaka is a delicious, flavorsome baked eggplant dish. There are many versions of Moussaka, depending on the country of origin. This specific recipe here is a modern take of a greek Mousakka recipe. It includes some very traditional Greek ingredients - lamb, eggplant, tomato and mint. A traditional Greek Mousakka recipe generally contains a béchamel sauce between the layers of lamb and eggplant however my version here replaces the béchamel sauce with mozzarella cheese which will save you time without compromising the taste.
To make the Moussaka:
1. Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook one chopped garlic and one small chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for around 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add 1 kg minced lamb and cook for five minutes or until browned.
2. Add 700ml tomato passata, 1 cup beef stock , 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 cups chopped mint, and 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley plus pepper and salt . Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened. Set aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile, sprinkle 1.kg finely sliced eggplant together with salt and set aside for 15 minutes. . Rinse the eggplant and pat dry with paper towel then brush the eggplant with olive oil. Cook in batches in a large non-stick pan on medium heat until golden .
4. To assemble the Moussaka, place 1 / 3 of the cooked eggplant slices in the bottom of a 22cm greased ovenproof dish. Top with 1 / 3rd of the cheese and half of the meat sauce.
5. Continue layering, ending with a coating of parmesan cheese. Bake in a moderate oven (around 180 degrees celsius) for around 35 mins or even until it is hot through and the cheese is golden.
The Turkish version of Mousakka, isn't layered. It is prepared together with sautéed aubergines, green peppers, tomato plants, onions and beef and it's also usually served with seasoned yogurt as well as pilaf. The Serbian and Bulgarian Moussaka recipes use potatoes instead of aubergines and pork mince instead of lamb and its served with a combination of yogurt combined with egg and flour. In the Middle East, Moussaka is cooked with tomatoes and aubergine and is usually served cold as a mezze meal.
There is so much to enjoy about Moussaka. Aside from being tasty and family friendly, Moussaka freezes well without losing any taste or texture once defrosted and baked. You can double the recipe and eat one on the day you make it and freeze the second one to enjoy another time. Served with a salad, Moussaka is a complete dinner for the family.