Astoria Inspired: Greek Moussaka

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My brother moved to Astoria some months ago ago I went by to see his hood. Ok, it's NICE but it's no Manhattan. However, after seeing all the amazing Greek restaurants I got inspired to make Moussaka. My mom, who is the farthest thing from being Greek (she's Puerto Rican) makes an amazing Moussaka. So, after a boring Sunday afternoon I decided to call her up for the recipe. The say patience is golden and if you are planning on making this I suggest you reflect on that mantra prior to starting, cause it'll be a while!

1 big eggplant, sliced, but not too thin
2 medium onions, chopped
1 pound of potatoes, sliced fairly thin
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 pound of ground beef or lamb (keep it lean)
1 cup of tomato sauce
salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
olive oil
1/2 cup of grated parmesan or feta cheese
8x8 baking pan

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Cut eggplant (I keep the skin on cause I like it, but if you want to peel it first it's up to you) and place on a hot oiled pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Cook on both sides (needs to be soft) and set aside.

Same thing with the potatoes. Slice them fairly thin so they take less time cooking. Sprinkle with salt. Cook on both sides (needs to be soft) and set aside.
Chop garlic and onions...

and sauté until soft and fragrant. About 5 minutes should do it. At this point, I would turn on the oven at 350 F degrees.
Then add the ground meat. Add salt and pepper to your liking. What will make this meat stand out is the nutmeg and cinnamon. The spices is what makes this meat taste "Greek". I would add a teaspoon of both. Cook until brown.
Make the béchamel sauce (check out the step by step process here. It's easy to make, rich and delicious.

mmm creamy goodness

Ok, so here is where the stacking begins. Spread some tomato sauce at the bottom of the pan.

First add the potatoes in the bottom, then spread the cooked meat

Stack the eggplant. Sprinkle feta or parmesan before adding the béchamel sauce. As you can see, I didn't add anything to keep the salt intake lowER but recommend adding cheese. Definitely a plus.

Spread the béchamel evenly. Plop in the oven and bake for 45 mins.
Add voila! After burning 200 calories assembling it, enjoy it. Red wine required.

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