Carina’s own “Greek Moussaka”

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This week Friday the 5th of August, the 2016 Olympic Summer Games will be officially inaugurated in Rio de Janeiro/Brazil and once more Millions of people will be watching – the lucky ones live in Brazil and the rest of us in front of our TV screens in the comfort of our home. We wish them good luck and of course, “May the best team win” keeping up with the Olympic Motto: Faster – Higher – Stronger.

The first modern Olympic Games started way back on April 6, 1896, and were held in Athens, Greece, with athletes from 14 countries participating.
So I thought that maybe it would be only appropriate to dig deep into my private recipe file box and make once again my old favourite from times gone by; you might have guessed it already – MOUSSAKA!

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This beautiful Greek dish containing mainly Aubergines/Eggplants/Melanzane, Lamb- or Beef Mincemeat, Zucchini, slices of potatoes, Onions and topped with a beautiful cheesy Béchamel Sauce.

But – if you are expecting to find the recipe here for this incredible original Moussaka, then sadly this is the wrong page for you. This one here is totally my own personal successfully tried version of “Greek Moussaka” – cooked for a long time by me for family, friends and for when I had to entertain on a larger scale. It also freezes well and therefor perfect for those occasions. (Oh dear, time creeps up on you if one has fun!)

So here now is ‘Carina’s Moussaka’ recipe – I hope you will try this one and even like it as much as we do. Having been absent from our table for a few years now, we have decided to say “Welcome back C.M.”.

Again, this recipe is for 2 people:

I used here:

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½ kg minced Beef (Mutton is delicious, too) let it drain in a colander until you need it,
2 x medium sized aubergines/eggplants (or whatever you call them), thinly sliced
1 x large zucchini, thinly sliced
1-2 x large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 x onions, finely chopped
2-3 x medium sized tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ x of a whole cinnamon stick, broken into 3
½ x cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp x of Allspice

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And to make your Béchamel Sauce:
2 x Tbsp of Butter, more or less
Some olive oil
3 x Tbsp flour
1 x cup of milk (you might want to use a bit more if sauce is too thick for your liking!)
Generous pinch of nutmeg
¾ cup x of sharp cheese, pref. cheddar, grated and mixed with 1 tsp of ready-made mustard (optional) for that extra little ‘kick’.

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius. Take a large bowl and add aubergine-, potato- and zucchini-slices with very little olive oil and carefully with your hands (don’t break the vegetables thou) ‘massage’ the oil into them. Then on a baking sheet just spread them all out (like in my photograph) and bake in the oven for ca. 15-20 minutes (but, please keep checking on them).

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When soft, switch off gas and leave them to rest until later.

Now, in a large deep pan or wok add 2 tsp of oil and sauté all the onion with a pinch of salt until they start changing colour, moving them around all the time. After that add the mince meat, your broken cinnamon stick (ahhh – that smell!!) and a very generous amount of allspice. Mix and sauté until meat turns brown.

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After this add your chopped tomatoes and the parsley, stir and check on salt and pepper. Simmer for maybe 30 minutes until the smell starts invading your kitchen and playing with your senses. During this time do not cover your pan/wok but keep a watchful eye on this – should it start to stick, just sprinkle some water! Into this – no more oil!!

Keep this now aside and make the Béchamel Sauce.

In a small pot melt some butter (don’t be too stingy) over low to medium heat – add flour gradually whilst whisking to avoid lumps. This might take 3-5 minutes; now add milk slowly and gradually, all the time whisking the milk into the flour/butter mixture. Do not add all the milk at the same time – you will most likely end up with a horrible lumpy mess. Once the mixture is smooth add half of your cheese and some nutmeg. Keep stirring until everything is well incorporated.

Now take any kind of oven-proven dish, butter is slightly and start to assemble your Moussaka.

First, a generous layer of the prepared meat followed by potatoes and aubergines, another layer of meat and then cover everything generously with the prepared Béchamel Sauce. Top with the remaining cheese and into the pre-heated oven (I had mine now on 200 C) this goes for maybe 30 minutes. When your Moussaka has a nice golden brown cheese crust then ……. It’s ready!

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Remove from oven and let it rest for 10-20 minutes before serving – a chunk of hot baguette is just nice.

Guten Appetit – Καλή όρεξη Kalí órexi
Carina

But wait my friends! – before you go please take note of two more things:
1) I like to give full credit and thanks to Jo, who presented me with this beautiful artwork of his to use in my Blog.
2) Take your time and try and listen to this befitting piece of music – who does not know it, honest!

The Sirtaki danced by one of our absolute favourite actors, Anthony Quinn. It is of course from the all-time classic film “Zorba the Greek”. Greek title: Αλέξης Ζορμπάς (Alexis Zorbas) is a 1964 film directed by Cypriot Michael Cacoyannis and starring Anthony Quinn as the title character. It is based on the novel Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis. The supporting cast includes Alan Bates, Lila Kedrova, Irene Papas. Winner of the Oscar 1964.

31 thoughts on “Carina’s own “Greek Moussaka”

  1. That looks very good and fairly traditional. I made a moussaka recently and discussed the choice of lamb or beef with a Greek friend. She told me that beef is most common choice in Greece, whereas lamb is more usual in Turkey.

    • Good morning to you, thanks of course for commenting – I really appreciate your input🙂 And you are quite right, of course. I learned to make this dish of course with beef, but when we had a meal with other (turkish) friends in Izmir moussage was with lamb! Maybe I should have mentioned this in my text? Take care🙂

  2. Oh my, Carina, I had forgotten how elegantly and joyfully Quinn danced this! Thanks!! And yes, love moussaka too and like your recipe ’cause it is healthier and better spiced than most. Usually lamb for me and oft no potatoes at all. making up the balance with more aubergines. Must put it in Q for a meal with friends! Meanwhile am saying prayers for Rio and the Games: may all pass in peace at such a difficult time in the world . . . first night televiewing from the comfort of bed tomorrow night . . . we have four different programmes going most of the nights . . .

    • Yaasssoo!!!! Learned to dance the Sirtaki of all places in Izmir – oh, what fun! Have forgotten most of the steps but I see there are lessons on utube, lol lol. I started adding some thinly sliced potatoes when I could not get enough aubergines when needed – we quite like this edition. Spices you of course can up or down depending on your own taste. Have lots of fun watching……(but get some sleep too)🙂

  3. I love Moussaka. A long time ago the best one I had so far was in Greece. I was going to ask the hotel for the recipe, but I never did. I like the idea of making it for two . . . but then maybe not because this is something I could eat for days. So I would love to have left overs! Thanks for sharing!

    • this now is my 3rd attempt to reply to your comment – WP come on!!!! I have never been to Greece – yet! but maybe one day? And you are right, this is one of those perfect left-over dishes which has to be made for the freezer as well. I must (and will) make another one the coming week🙂

  4. And now a comment from a Greek: I am sure it’s a great moussaka version. Everyone in Greece believes he has the definite moussaka recipe, but the truth is there is no single golden rule. There are many debates: potatoes or not, fried or baked eggplants etc. The first time I announced that I would cook moussaka for a family lunch my mother in law very discretely asked me if I would use potatoes or not. She was relieved to find out that yes, the moussaka would contain potatoes!

    • Aspassia Kaliméra –🙂 this made me smile!! Thank you – so in short I think you approve??? In the past I too have made Moussaka without and with potatoes, with and without ovenbaked aubergines etc., I think most are very good but in the end we all tend to go back to the version we like most, and since what I write here is mostly about food “from our very own kitchen” – this is it then🙂🙂🙂 Ciao Carina

  5. What a great moussaka recipe Carina. Love how you sliced the potatoes and zucchini and baked them ahead of time, I’m sure that added a nice crunch to the bite. There’s so many variations for sure, but I do like your recipe and will bookmark it for a later date. I’ve made it with lamb as well, and it is equally good🙂

    • thank you Loretta. Please do let me know, if you can, how you liked “my” version? And yes, you are soooo right – there must be zillion variations around, not only of moussake but nearly of all recipes, but ….. this one is our in-house version🙂. I too have made it with Lamb before (and yes, it was very good – needs more spices thou) our friends in Izmir always made it with Lamb of course.

  6. I love the video. I liked the movie too. Love the music! Oh, and the moussaka too. I can almost make this now but I don’t have the beef. Just the veggies. Will try another day . . .

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