Old World Greek Moussaka

  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


Meat sauce;
1 1/2pounds ground lamb or ground beef
1tablespoon olive oil
1cup chopped onion
2cloves garlic, minced
1can (8 ounce) tomato sauce
1/4cup red wine
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2teaspoon basil
1/4teaspoon oregano
1/4teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
1teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon pepper
Bechamel sauce:
1/3cup butter, melted
1/3cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4cups milk, heated
1 1/4cups half-and-half, heated
1/2teaspoon salt
1/4teaspoon nutmeg
4 egg yolks, beaten
1/4cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Olive oil


For the meat sauce:

  1. Brown the lamb in a large skillet, stirring until crumbly; drain. Remove the lamb to a dish.
  2. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic to the skillet. Saute over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Return the lamb to the skillet.
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce, red wine, parsley, basil, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For the bechamel sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Whisk in the milk and half-and-half slowly, stirring until smooth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the salt and nutmeg. Stir a small amount of the sauce into the beaten egg yolks; stir the egg yolks into the hot sauce. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in the cheese.

For the moussaka:

  1. Grease a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides. Place on the prepared baking sheet in 1 layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender.
  3. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  4. Layer 1/2 of the eggplant and 1/2 of the meat sauce in the prepared baking pan. Repeat the layers.
  5. Spread the bechamel sauce evenly over the meat sauce. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until hot and bubbly. Let stand, covered with foil, for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe reprinted with permission from the Palo Alto Auxiliary for Children, Tastes, Tales and Traditions (the Palo Alto auxiliary for Chidren, 2005)