My dad first made this dish when I was a teenager and I loved it then. He always used to joke that first you will need to catch yourself one moose. Ha, ha, typical dad joke but I love him for it. My dad for those of you that don’t know is the main cook in my parents house and he loves experimenting with food like I do.
When I asked my dad where Moussaka came from he told me it was a Greek dish. Moussaka is a baked lamb and aubergine casserole. It can be made with other ingredients like beef and vegetables such as courgettes. The Greeks believe that moussaka was introduced when the Arabs brought the eggplant.
In Greece the dish is layered with potato and aubergine and typically served hot. In Turkey it is sauteed and served in the style of a casserole and consumed warm or at room temperature. In Arabic countries, a variant is eaten cold.
There are many versions of Moussaka but we have made ours with a bechamel sauce. Also I roasted courgettes and aubergine in the oven and then pureed them and added it to the lamb. It’s so a certain little man called Ted didn’t know they were in his meal. I don’t think this is the same as my dad’s version but it’s delicious. Well worth a try.
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Baking tray
- Frying pan
- Large saucepan
- Medium saucepan
- Food processor or Nutribullet
- Cheese grater
- Potato peeler
- Deep dish
Ingredients for roasted courgette and aubergine
- Courgettes x 2 medium
- Aubergine x 2 medium
- Garlic x 4 – 6 cloves
- Herbs du provence or dried mixed herbs x 2 tsp
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon x 1 – 2 (juice and zest)
Method for roasted courgette and aubergine
- Preheat the oven to 180º and put in the roasting tray.
- Peel and slice the courgette and aubergine into 1 centimetre pieces.
- Remove the roasting tray carefully from the oven and put in the vegetables.
- Add in the garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
- Next add salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss all the ingredients together.
- Place back into the oven for 30 minutes.
- Once starting to turn golden brown, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Once cooled, remove the skin from the garlic and place in the food processor or Nutribullet, along with the other ingredients and add the zest and juice of the lemon or lemons.
- If using a Nutribullet, place a small amount of the vegetables at a time and about half the lemon juice.
- Then place into a separate bowl after each session.
- Set aside.
Ingredients for béchamel sauce
- Milk x 600ml (preferably organic)
- Butter x 50g (preferably organic)
- Brown rice flour x 50g (or wholemeal flour if not gluten intolerant)
- Mature cheedar x 200g
Method for béchamel sauce
- Start by melting the butter in the pan on a low heat.
- Once it has melted add the flour and whisk together.
- It should form a thick paste.
- Remove from the heat and add a little bit of milk whilst whisking.
- Keep adding the milk and whisking until all the milk has gone.
- Return the pan to the hob on a medium heat.
- Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken.
- When it starts to thicken, remove from the heat and add about two thirds of the grated cheese leaving a good amount for the topping.
- Stir this until the cheese disappears and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Set aside.
Ingredients for frying the meat
- Minced lamb x 500g
- Onions x 1 large
- Potatoes x 600g
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Method for frying the meat
- Preheat the oven to 180º and add in the pie dish to warm through.
- Start by peeling the potatoes and then roughly slice them.
- Put the large saucepan onto boil and add in the potatoes for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop the onion.
- Put the frying pan onto a medium to high heat.
- Once hot, add the onions and fry until they are translucent.
- Add in the mince lamb and fry until the mince has browned.
- Next add in the courgette and aubergine puree and mix all the ingredients together.
- Once it has cooked remove from heat and layer the meat, potatoes, sauce and cheese.
- Carefully remove the deep dish from the oven.
- Start by putting about half the meat mixture on the base of the dish.
- Next add about half of the potatoes on top of the meat and add half the béchamel sauce.
- Repeat process for the next layer and then add the cheese.
- Place in the oven for around 30 minutes or until the cheese has turned golden brown.
- Once the cheese is golden brown, remove from the oven and serve with greens or a salad.
Lamb Moussaka is a dish I would suggest is made on a weekend when there is more time. It has lots of parts to it and it’s a dish that needs time. There are parts of the dish that can be made in advance, frozen and defrosted on the day. The puree and béchamel sauce could be made and then frozen or you could make double the amount and freeze half to have during the week. It’s not the easiest dish to make but it’s well worth it. However you decide to eat this meal, as always, enjoy!