Sometimes there are things that I cook that are not particularly photogenic but taste oh so good. Moussaka is a really good example of this since everything just tends to ooze deliciously together. This was my first time making this and I was so glad that I gave it a try. I don’t know much about Greek food but I would imagine that this is Greece’s answer to the concept of comfort food.
The recipe starts off with ground lamb and browned onions with salt, pepper, ground cinnamon, a pinch of cloves and a pinch of allspice. Growing up we didn’t really eat lamb at home but The Husband and I both love it. and try to include it in the rotation.
The original recipe I had seen didn’t have potatoes but I really wanted to add them. I spoke to someone at work who is Greek and he said that there are versions with and without potatoes so I didn’t transgress any rules of Moussaka making by adding them. Since I wanted to make sure that they would be cooked thoroughly I sliced the potatoes and put them in the oven while I prepared the filling and the topping.
When the lamb was completely cooked I added in white wine and tomato paste and let it simmer to allow all the flavours come together.
I also chopped up a generous amount of parsley and chucked it in the pot.
The béchamel sauce was pretty straightforward except that the recipe called for an unpronounceable Greek cheese that I have never seen at the grocery store. Since I didn’t know what the said cheese tastes like I just ended up shredding some of each kind of cheese that I found in the fridge: strong cheddar, parmesan and some random French cheese.
I of course, also added salt, pepper and nutmeg. All béchamel needs some nutmeg or else it just isn’t right.
At this point I took my potatoes out of the oven and started putting the Moussaka together.
I added the meat filling directly onto the potatoes followed by..
the eggplants. Pretty much any recipe that uses eggplants will tell you to salt them and let them drain due to bitterness. I never do this, I honestly don’t taste any. Buying smaller eggplants also helps since they have less seeds and it is the seeds that can taste bitter. I just sliced my eggplants, I didn’t bother to peel them, and laid them on the meat.
Last to go on top was the béchamel sauce and then everything went into the oven to cook.
After roughly an hour the béchamel was golden and bubbly and ready to come out of the oven.
If I had a Greek grandmother I think she would be proud of my Moussaka making attempt. This was really, really good and not as much work as I thought it would be. It is no more labour intensive than making a lasagne and the results are so worth it. Since I cut into it when it was hot it didn’t really retain its shape so it didn’t photograph particularly well. Tasted great though which is what counts in the end.