I love making and eating moussaka. I can't remember when I first tasted this dish but it was love at first bite and moussaka has remained a staunch go-to recipe of mine when I feel like going the extra culinary mile. One word of caution: the prep for this recipe is a bit time consuming but the results are definitely worth the effort!
Arlene's Moussaka Recipe
2 lb minced lamb, or half minced lamb and half minced beef
3 lbs eggplants(melongenes) washed
1 very large white onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp each: thyme, rosemary, marjoram finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tbs tomato paste
salt and black pepper to taste
For the Sauce:
4 cups milk
6 egg yolks
3 tsp cornflour
4 oz grated cheese
salt, black pepper, grated nutmeg
- Prepare the eggplants by cutting off the stems, cut lengthways into thin slices and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 1/2 hour.
- Finely chop onion and garlic and saute gently in about 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a heavy frying pan until transluscent and soft. Add meat, chopped herbs, bay leaf, allspice, salt and black pepper. Cook slowly until meat is no longer pink. Add tomato paste, cook for a few minutes more, then turn off the heat. Remove bayleaf. Set aside.
- Drain eggplant slices of any liquid, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Spray a large baking tray with non-stick cooking spray and place eggplant slices in a single layer. You may need more than one tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour, rotating trays halfway through cooking time.
- Make the sauce while eggplant is in the oven: Scald the milk in a heavy saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks with the cornflour. Temper egg mixture by adding a spoonful of the hot milk, whisking all the while. Add the tempered egg mixture to the hot milk slowly, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Simmer gently until mixture thickens into a rich, smooth custard. Add the cheese at the very end.
- When the eggplant slices are done, assemble the moussaka. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Start with a layer of eggplant slices (slightly overlapping). Add a layer of meat. (You can add extra grated cheese here if desired).
- Continue to alternate eggplant slices with meat until both mixtures are used up, ending the moussaka with a layer of eggplant.
- Pour the custard mixture over all.
- Bake moussaka in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 min to 1 hour.
- Serve and enjoy! Delicious with a crisp green salad.