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Greek Mousakka

Moussaka Recipe

The Homesteading Hippy
A delicious way to utilize some of that great garden eggplant!
Cuisine greek


  • 3 medium eggplants or two very large ones
  • 1 lbs ground beef or lamb
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic garlic minced
  • 16 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine you can use hot water instead if avoiding alcohol
  • salt and pepper to taste

Béchamel sauce

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated strong cheddar cheese ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 egg yolks set aside the white for a meringue-making project or to add to omelettes (optional)


Preparing the eggplant

  • Slice the eggplant crosswise in 1/3 inch thick slices. There is no need to peel unless family or guests are particularly averse to the peel.
  • Soak in a bowl of cool water with a sprinkle of salt added for 20 to 30 minutes while you prepare the ground beef/lamb. Note the bitter juices turning the water brown
    Aubergine that has been soaked in water

Preparing the ground beef/lamb

  • Place a teaspoon of the olive oil into the skillet and on medium heat, add onion and cook slowly, stirring often until it is translucent. If you let it burn it will be bitter.
  • Add the meat and cook through – it should be nicely browned and have rendered its fat.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Add the garlic. I prefer to add at this stage instead of with the onion as it can burn easily – with the meat in the pan the garlic will not burn as easily.
    braising ground meat and onion and adding garlic
  • Stir in the allspice, cinnamon, parsley and oregano.
    chopping parsley, basil and oregano
  • Add in half a cup of red wine.
  • Add in the tomato paste, the can of crushed tomatoes, and simmer on low heat until fragrant, about 20 minutes. Stir periodically to ensure it does not catch on the bottom of the pan.
  • Set aside while you cook the eggplant.

Frying the eggplant

  • Preheat a large skillet.
  • Remove eggplant slices from their salt water bath, rinse and pat dry with a clean tea towel or paper towel.
  • Place a tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and fry slices on medium heat turning after a minute or so when the underside is slightly browned and soft. As the slices are done set aside on paper towels for the oil to drain. You may need some extra olive oil as you fry further batches. I use an air fryer as you use less oil.
    aubergine slices dried and being brushed with olive oil

Making the béchamel sauce

  • Place butter in a clean saucepan over medium heat and allow to melt, but do not allow to brown.
  • When the butter bubbles, add the flour and using a wire whisk blend it into the butter.
    Roux with butter and flour
  • Whisk flour and butter together for a between 1 minute and 2 minutes, giving the flour a chance to cook. It will form a glutinous ball.
  • Add the milk gradually, a little at a time, whisking all the time to make sure it incorporates evenly and there are no lumps.
  • Once all the milk is used, add ¼ cup of the grated Parmesan, or ½ cup of the strong cheddar cheese, a generous pinch of salt and the nutmeg. Keep whisking to make sure no lumps form at this stage.
    Cheese being added to the white sauce
  • Keep whisking (yes, there is a lot of whisking involved), as you cook the sauce for around 3 minutes.
  • Turn off heat, remove skillet from the hot plate, and allow to cool slightly before folding in the two beaten egg yolks (optional).

Assembling the moussaka

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or 175 C.
  • Place a teaspoon of olive oil into a 3 qt baking dish to grease.
  • Start with a layer of eggplant slices, then a thin layer of sauce, then follow with a layer of the meat sauce.
    Fried eggplant slices layered in a dish
  • Add a further layer of eggplant over the meat mix.
  • Spread on the béchamel sauce, and place in the oven to bake for around 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle over the remaining Cheddar or Parmesan before returning to bake for another 30 minutes or so, until the top is golden.
    Layers of eggplant, meat and sauce
  • Allow to stand for about 30 minutes before serving to allow the juices from the meat sauce to absorb into the eggplant.