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Apr 18, 2014 06:50 AM

Moussaka Recipe Needed

Looking for a Moussaka recipe for Pesach. My wife usually follows the recipe in the complete Passover cookbook by Frances Avrutick, but we left it at home.

Any help would be appreciated.

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  1. nj, are we talking bechamel sauce and meat? If so, I'm curious what goes into a Pesachdik bechamel sauce.

    9 Replies
    1. re: AdinaA

      I lost this cookbook in my divorce years ago. Ex was from West Hartford and we knew Rebbitzin AvRutick and she had inscribed the book.

      IIRC this is a fleischige recipe with no bechamel sauce per se, but used frozen coffee whitener in the sauce.

      I simply make this as I would a meat lasagne and leave out the ersatz bechamel.

      AvRutick was a mainstay of the West Hartford community for decades. Her husband had a large congregation and she worked as a commercial food stylist for one of the kosher dairies (chalav stam) and authored wonderful cookbooks.

      1. re: bagelman01

        This is a meat moussaka with a tomato sauce. I keep telling her to just wing it, but she wants the recipe

        1. re: bagelman01

          Would you remember about the bechamel sauce? It would be fun to serve it. Would you just pour it on top?

          1. re: helou

            Sorry, but never made it with Bechamel

            1. re: helou

              Helou, you can do a pretty great bechamel the rest of the year subbing chicken or duck fat for butter, and using soy milk. What I cannot imagine is how to make a bechamel without flour. (potato starch doesn't even sub smoothly for corn starch, it is difficult to work with as a thickner). In my book, bechamel is what makes moussaka really pop.

              That said, there are probably as many versions of moussaka in the Balkans as there are of cholent in Ashkenaz. A red- sauce moussaka is a really good Pesach idea. Moussaka also has the great virtue of freezing and reheating well.

              1. re: AdinaA

                Back in my college days (ancient times) I did the books for a Greek_American family who owned a few pizza and other restaurants. The mother was forever experimenting with ways to make Greek-American dishes but cut costs.
                She came up with Moussaka in which she didn't use a Bechamel, but used mashed potatoes which had been whipped in the Hobart with the cooking water and no cream or butter.
                Over the years I have used instant potato flakes and boiling water to make this for layering in the moussaka and on the top I grate some fresh nutmeg/cinnamon to get that nice browned look the bechamel would have. I don't make moussaka for Passover, as I make trays of Eggplant Parmesan to have available for dairy lunches for our houseguests

                1. re: bagelman01

                  Thanks. That's a nice approach, would also work with real mashed potatoes (great use for leftover mashed potatoes) plus it would be less rich than a good bechamel - depending on how much fat you mash into the potatoes.

                  1. re: AdinaA

                    The woman who came up with this always made real mashed potatoes, she never would have spent the extra on instant.
                    When usint instant for a dish like this where I make a replacement for bechamel, I will add a little nonfat non-dairy creamer to the potato flakes with the water

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      My grandma makes moussaka (year round) with layers of whipped mashed potatoes.

        2. Pull up the book on Amazon ( and choose "Look Inside". If you enter moussaka into the search bar on the left hand side (towards the bottom), it is the second result (ie page 240).

          I don't recommend this as a way of avoiding buying cookbooks but it is a great way to test them about before buying or in a pinch like this.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CloggieGirl

            Thanks for this

            My wife asked me to look for it this way, and I told her no one would let you see the recipes as no one would end up buying the book.

            Only problem is I can get to page 240 and 242, but not 241 which has the recipe. Trying various options.

          2. I was able to get the recipe from the Amazon book after a few tries. Hope it's not too late. Here it is (paraphrased):

            Greek Moussaka

            1 medium eggplant (1-1/2 lbs)
            1 egg
            1 cup tomato sauce, divided
            1 lb ground meat of your choice
            1 onion, finely chopped (optional)
            1/2 cup water
            1 tsp sugar
            dash of black pepper
            1/4 tsp cinnamon
            1 bay leaf, halved

            Peel eggplant and slice 1/4 inch thick. Brush both sides with oil. Arrange in a large baking pan and broil on both sides until lightly browned.

            Beat the egg and 1/2 cup tomato sauce in a medium bowl. Add meat and onion, and thorougly blend.

            Place half the eggplant slices in an ungreased 7"x11" baking dish. Spread meat mixture over eggplant. Top with remaining eggplant slices. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce with water, sugar, pepper, and cinnamon.

            Pour the tomato mixture over the eggplant, and place half a bay leaf at each end of the pan.

            Bake at 350 uncovered for about 1 hour, until the top is brown and most of the gravy evaporates. Remove bay leaves.

            Serves 4-6

            5 Replies
            1. re: hbg1

              This is great. I told my wife that Chowhound would come through.

              Thanks so much.

                1. re: hbg1

                  loved this thread and we made it for tonight. I am totally going to buy this cookbook after yomtov!

                    1. re: SoCal Mother

                      I think we are going to get the updated version as our one is falling apart

              1. You could make the sauce using stock rather than milk, making this entirely a meat dish. Eggplant layer, meat layer, sauce layer. I think I might use lamb and a chicken stock. BTW I do not fry my eggplant for moussaka--- too much fat. I lay the strips out on a cookie sheet and slightly brown them in a hot oven. Also it's 'way less work.

                1. has a delicious recipe “My Mom’s Luscious Potato Moussaka, Jewish Style” by Kukla.