This heart warming eggplant casserole with potato and ground meat topped with a cheesy béchamel is simply delicious and the perfect meal for any occasion.
Eggplants, eggplants, eggplants…
Anything with eggplants is a favorite of mine, and Moussaka has this way of honoring this ingredient in an exceptionally flavor packed way.
This version of moussaka is inspired from my own grandmother’s dish which she used to call “Pomme de Terre Bonne Maman”, but was truly her version of a good old fashion “Hachis parmentier”.
I am so glad I was able to find this recipe and it was not lost with all my other ones. Thank you to the printed copy I had in my kitchen drawer. So this is me, reposting it for your enjoyment.
My moussaka calls for mashed potatoes rather than the heavily time consuming thin potato layers, which makes it easier to prepare.
Moussaka is probably the best known of all Greek foods, but can also be found in Turkish kitchens. love this alteration to the dish that I make, and the mashed potatoes and béchamel make it feel even more like comfort food.
I know this recipe may sound tedious, but the more you make it, the more you will realize that it simply isn’t that complicated. The many steps will come to you naturally. It’s as simple as prep potatoes, prep meat, prep eggplants, prep béchamel, and the rest is done.
Try it out and let me know how much sunshine this dish brings into your heart and plate. Hopefully it can turn into a family favorite at your house too.
Laughter is brightest where food is best.
— Irish proverb
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BECHAMEL
- 1 1/2 cups tete de maure (or parmesan cheese)
- 1 1/4 cup Pepper jack cheese
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 125 g Butter
- Salt & pepper to taste
INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEAT
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef meat seasoned with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of creole garlic marinade
- 1/4 tsp Rosemary
- 5 sprigs Thyme
- 3 Tomatoes diced
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 tbsp Tomato paste
2 tbsp Olive oil
1/4 tsp hot sesame oil
- 1/4 cup Red wine
1 tsp Sugar
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 cups of potatoes
- 3 Eggplants
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp creole garlic marinade
1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan (save half for top)
Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
Cook your potatoes in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender.
Slice your eggplants crosswise into 1/2 inch rounds and spread them onto a baking sheet lined with paper towel. Sprinkle both sides generously with salt, then top them with another baking sheet weighted down with some cans or heavy cookbooks. Set aside for 15 minutes.
While your potatoes are boiling, heat your olive oil mixed with your hot sesame oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, adding in the diced onions and tomatoes. Add the seasoned meat and let cook while breaking it up with a spoon. Season with rosemary and thyme, add in tomato paste. sugar, red wine and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer your meat to a plate on the side.
When your potatoes are ready, mash them with butter, 1/2 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon creole garlic marinade and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and season to taste with some salt and pepper. Set aside.
Pat and gently squeeze your eggplant slices with paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Rinse your rounds thoroughly under running water and pat dry again. Broil with a dash of olive oil for about 5 minutes each side until lightly charred on both sides. Set aside.
Now to make your béchamel, melt your butter over medium light heat in a medium saucepan. Stir in flour and mix into a paste, without letting the butter brown up. Slowly add in your milk while constantly stirring, until obtaining a creamy white sauce. Add your Dijon mustard for taste and some salt and pepper. Mix in your pepper jack and tête de maure cheese (or parmesan). Turn off the heat.
Now you are ready to assemble your moussaka.
Spoon your beef mixture into a greased casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant. Top it with mashed potatoes. Cover with the béchamel sauce. Sprinkle the top with the remaining tête de maure cheese.
Transfer to the oven and bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling up around the edges. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour.
When the thick layer of béchamel sauce turns golden and crusty, you know you are ready to take it out of the oven.
Let stand for a few minutes before serving though, it will help the dish settle a little and cool down, making it easier to serve and enjoy.