Want to impress the family with an exotic super bowl dish? Try Moussaka!
Moussaka is a hearty greek style comfort dish consisting traditionally of eggplant, potatoes, and ground lamb. Think exotically spiced lasagna but instead of pasta you are using potatoes and eggplant. For this version we are calling for ground beef instead of lamb, but if you want to be authentic, do it with lamb. You will need a few basic pantry spices for this one, but it is worth it. If you are dairy free, you can skip the béchamel and the dish will still be delicious.
1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4 in rounds (skin can be peeled or left on)
1lb (about 4) Yukon gold potato sliced into very thin rounds (about 1/8 inch thick)
1lb ground beef (you can use ground turkey or lamb if you prefer)
1 onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
1 large pinch of ground cinnamon (about 1/2 teaspoon or 1 cinnamon whole stick)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1 14oz can diced tomatoes.
2 tablespoons olive oil + 2 more for potatoes and eggplant
For the béchamel
1.5 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup of cheese parmesan, pecorino or greek kefalortiti (optional)
1 pinch of nutmeg grated (optional)
Roast your eggplant and potatoes.
One two different roasting trays drizzle with olive oil and lay your potatoes and eggplants flat. Drizzle the tops with a bit more oil. Roast for about 20 minutes at 375. Your you potatoes should be about 1/8 inch thick while your eggplant 1/4 inch. The thickness difference should have them finishing cooking around the same time Bake until fork tender. They should not be crunchy at all. Remove from oven and set aside.
Prep your meat
In a pan add your chopped onion and sauté about 5 minutes. Next add your ground meat, garlic, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until meat is browned. Next add your can of tomatoes. Stir to combine and simmer for about 20 minutes on medium heat. Remove form heat
Make your Bechamel:
Melt your butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and slowly add your milk. Bring to a low simmer. Make sure to stir every 2-3 minutes until your sauce thickens. You want it to coat the back of a wooden spoon and not run right off. Remove from the stove and add salt, pepper, and optional nutmeg and parmesan if you have them.
When putting together a moussaka thing lasagna but instead of pasta you are using potatoes and eggplant. Choose a pan with a few in deep sides that is the right size for all your potatoes to line the bottom. Drizzle the pan with olive oil then place a layer of potatoes. Next scoop in your meat mixture and make a nice thick layer. Third top the meat with a layer of eggplant. After the eggplant pour your béchamel over the top covering completely. Note, if you are dairy free, you can skip the béchamel and bake with eggplant as the top layer. It will still be delicious!
Place the moussaka in a 375 oven and bake for 30-45 minutes. The top should be bubbling but not browning too much when you remove it. After removing let sit for 30 minutes at least everything sets up. Traditionally in Greece moussaka is made the day before, so letting it rest for a bit is not a bad thing. Cut into squares and serve alongside a nice light greek salad. Opa!