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Layers of cooked aubergine slices alternating with a mixture of minced lamb meat, in a tomato sauce, and covered with a thick béchamel sauce.
In its basic form, «moussaka» [pr. MOO-sah-kah] consists of sliced eggplant and ground lamb or beef that are layered, covered with a béchamel sauce enriched with eggs and/or cheese, then baked. It is a popular dish in Greece.
|1 1/2||aubergines / eggplants, large size||650 g|
|1 tbsp||olive oil||15 mL|
|400 g||lean ground lamb|
|7 tbsp||beef broth||100 mL|
|1 1/4 cup||canned tomatoes (diced)||320 g|
|1 tsp||dried oregano||1 g|
|1 pinch||salt [optional]||0.1 g|
|ground pepper to taste [optional]|
|1 cup||peanut oil, to fry the aubergines||250 mL|
|paper towels, to drain the aubergines|
|1/3 cup||butter, unsalted, plus some to grease the baking dish||80 g|
|1/3 cup||white flour (all purpose)||45 g|
|2 cups||milk, partly skimmed, 2%||500 mL|
|1 1/2 cup||Cheddar cheese, grated||110 g|
|3 1/2 tbsp||bread crumbs||26 g|
Preheat the oven to 195°C/375°F.
The aubergines, meat filling and béchamel sauce are cooked separately then assembled and baked.
Prepare the vegetables : finely chop the onion and garlic; slice the aubergines into 7 mm thick rounds.
Cook the meat filling
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic then sauté 2-3 min, until they become translucent. Increase the heat to medium-high then add the ground meat. Sear it until it looses its red colour, about 4-5 min, then break it up with a fork. In order to brown the meat, it is important not to stir it at the beginning, otherwise it will loose its juices and will «boil» rather than brown. Using a bulb baster, remove any juices released from the meat and reserve them.
When the meat is golden-coloured, pour in the broth and any reserved meat juices. Stir in the diced tomatoes and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture simmer uncovered about 30 min, until it thickens and is almost dry.
Cook the aubergines
While the meat is cooking, fry the aubergine slices in a pan with the hot peanut oil, working in batches, until the slices are golden brown on each side (about 4 min per slice). Set the aubergines on paper towels to drain.
Cook the béchamel sauceMelt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and beat well using a whisk or a wooden spoon. Cook for 3 min, stirring constantly and taking care not to let it burn. Warm up the milk, then add it slowly while stirring thoroughly to avoid lumps. Cook over medium heat 4-5 min. Grate the cheese, then blend it into the sauce.
Assemble and bake
Grease a baking dish, then arrange half of the aubergines in the bottom of the dish. Add a little salt, then spread the meat mixture over the aubergines. Top with the remaining aubergines. Pour the béchamel sauce over the top aubergine layer. For a nice golden crust, sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs (or additional grated cheese if you prefer).
Cook in the middle of the oven about 30 min, until the top is golden and bubbling on the edges. Let cool 10 min before serving.
The meat filling and the béchamel sauce can be made 2-3 days ahead. In that case, fry the aubergines, assemble the moussaka, and bake it just before serving. Alternatively, the whole dish may be made in advance and just rewarmed until heated through when ready to serve (the aubergines will then be softer).
per 1 serving (460g)
% Daily Value
|Vegetables and Fruits :||1 ¾||servings|
|Grain Products :||¾||serving|
|Milk and Alternatives :||1||servings|
|Meat and Alternatives :||1 ¼||servings|
|Milk and Alternatives||½|
|Meat and Alternatives||3 ½|