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Sep 22, 2009 04:50 PM

Fantastic Moussaka Recipe!

Since this is one of my favorite dishes, and eggplant is still in season, I decided to make the recipe in the current issue of Saveur. I tweaked it a bit, but I'm going to be ditching my standard recipe of 30 years for this one. If you're a fan of this dish, give this recipe a try.

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  1. I just made a moussaka for the first time in years, inspired by this year's amazing eggplant crop. Could you take the time to paraphrase the ingredients? The season isn't over, and it was a great meal.

    3 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        Just out of curiousity, what is the difference between this recipe (which looks very good; thanks!) and the one you've used for 30 years?

        1. re: clepro

          currants, ginger, bay leaf, potatoes, yogurt, eggplant is thinner, bechamel is thicker

    1. Yes please! I love Moussaka, my egglplant is just about ready too~

      1. This is my recipe is the original served in Crete. It is crucial to use the cinnamon.

        3-4 large eggplants
        3 potatoes
        600 grams of minced meat
        1 large onion, chopped
        1 clove garlic, minced
        a glass of red wine
        half bunch chopped parsley
        500 g tomatoes canned tomatoes drained and chopped
        a tablespoon of tomato paste (concentrate)
        a teaspoon of cinnamon powder
        salt, black pepper
        250 gr grated pecorino cheese
        nutmeg powder (for the besciamelle)
        two yolks
        500 ml of besciasmelle.

        Boil the potatoes, sliced (1 / 2 cm thick) for 5 minutes, then dry and fry remaining leaving soft.
        Slice the eggplants (thickness 1 / 2 cm) and fry them. Let stand for a long time on some absorbent paper towels so that they can lose much of the oil in excess.
        In a saucepan sauté garlic and whole onion, add the meat and turn up the fire until they lose their liquid. Add the wine and soften, add the chopped parsley and tomato concentrate. Salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cook over low heat.

        Prepare the white sauce, when it is ready remove from fire and add two egg yolks and two tablespoons of grated cheese.

        Grease a baking pan and lay on the bottom layer of potatoes, eggplant and cover with a meat sauce . Sprinkle with a little bit of pecorino cheese.
        Leave with another layer of eggplant (I used potatoes only for the bottom as usual in Crete) and then sauce. Possibly make another layer (I stopped). Layers of potatoes and eggplant should be salted and peppered.
        Finish with a layer of eggplant. Pour the white sauce, sprinkle with plenty of cheese and bake at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes.

        The moussaka is served warm.

        I tried to translate but my English is no good.

        You can watch the picture here: (translator on the top right)

        9 Replies
        1. re: cosmopolita

          Hey guys, thanks for both of these recipes. I've been working on moussaka for awhile now, and nothing's thrilled me yet. I'm going to start from scratch using a combination of these two and see how it goes.

          1. re: coll

            It is a very simple dish, or perhaps it is only for me that I am Italian and I used to make "parmigiana".
            It is also important to use the minced meat mixture, for example in Greece they use a piece of lamb.

            1. re: cosmopolita

              Thanks (or should I say "mille grazie"?) I always use ground lamb, I know that's important. (In Shepherds Pie too, it makes such a difference). My husband (100% Italian American) loves my eggplant parmigiana, but won't touch the moussaka for some reason, even though I've been breading the eggplant as I would for parmigiana. I see now that the eggplant should be fried without breading, so that should make a big difference, and now he will probably never touch it. He loves his breaded fried eggplant slices, eats them plain even.

              The one thing I have not been able to reproduce from moussaka I've had out is the light fluffy texture that some have, not just the bescimella but all through. I'm working on it, and I'll get there someday. PS I love your blog, maybe I can brush up on my Italian a little too!

              1. re: coll

                Perhaps you'd like to know that every region in Italy has a different types of parmigiana. For example, in Sicily used without breading, and in Italy is the version more common.
                Instead use the breading to Naples, but a matter of taste and I'm like your husband because I love the breading :)

                1. re: cosmopolita

                  I guess we're getting off the subject, but his aunt was from Naples and she always put hard boiled egg slices in her eggplant parm. I've heard that's common there? I love the taste, but you can't freeze leftovers because the eggs turn black.

                  1. re: coll

                    This Saveur recipe is incredible and easy.

                    1. re: Agent 99

                      I remember making mousakka from a recipe that I made 30 years ago. The eggplant is sliced and placed around a round cooking bowl. Similar ingredients are filled in and the bechamel sauce is placed on top before baking.I still have the book with the complete recipe.

                2. re: coll

                  Colll, are you familiar with the Greek dish, Pastitsione (or Pastitsio)? I first saw it on a PBS cooking show decades ago, hosted by a woman named Theoni Mark, IIRC. I never had the exact recipe, but made it anyway, many times. It was a relative of lasagne so maybe your husband would enjoy it. She made a tomato meat sauce that would have been Italian except that it used ground lamb and maybe some Mediterranean spices. The pasta was the spaghetti-length, straight type of macaroni. This was mixed with the sauce, then into a pan that had been buttered and lined with dried bread crumbs. Over the top went an egg-enriched bescamel - could have been mornay, I'm not sure. Then baked. She used a deep round cake pan, so it was served in wedges, with a little plain tomato sauce over the top.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I used to make pastitsio years ago but with elbow macaroni. Unfortunately my husband would rather have baked ziti with some sausage in it, so I stopped. Just noticed the other day that I still have the recipe and was thinking of throwing it out, but didn't. So who knows, maybe I'll try it again someday.

          2. I earmarked that in the new Saveur - now I can't wait to make it!

            1. I know this post is ancient, I came upon it recently when searching for moussaka recipes/ideas.

              I'm glad pikawicca posted about this recipe back in 2009. I gave it a go with a few tweaks and have to say it really is fantastic. I've been chasing the perfect moussaka after my first experience with it as a kid in Athens. While this might not be the holy grail, it comes pretty close. So for those of you looking for a great moussaka recipe, I'd give this one a try.

              Beware, it's a crap ton of work. Give yourself time.

              The tweaks I made:

              roast eggplant instead of fry - 400 degrees about 20 min and cut eggplant lengthwise not circles and cut potatoes same way

              boil potatoes until half cooked before baking in the casserole

              increase cinnamon to 1 tsp

              decrease cayenne to 1/2 tsp

              increase lamb to 1 1/2 lbs

              decrease tomato to 20oz (2 1/2 cups)

              used green bell pepper instead of red

              only used 1/4 c - 1/3rd cup of parmesan