Recipe: Aglaia's Moussaka

More

This version of moussaka I make is loosely based on my mother's recipe, to which I have added a layer of fried peppers. It is more like a gratin, as it probably was probably in the old days. I serve large spoonfuls, as with gratin dishes, and not perfectly cut squares. If you prefer a more elegant presentation make it in individual portions. I recently added the spicy and smoky Kea sausage to the lamb, which I think enriches the flavor.

Makes 6 servings

    • 2 large eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds) sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
    • sea salt
    • olive oil
    • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
    • 3 large green bell peppers, seeded, quartered lengthwise and cut into about 1-inch pieces
    • 1 pound lean ground lamb or beef
    • 4 ounces spicy and smoky sausage, crumbled, or 3 ounces bacon, thinly sliced (optional)
    • 1 1/2 cup chopped onions
    • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
    • 1/3 cup red wine
    • 1 pound red ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped or 2 1/2 cups imported canned chopped tomatoes with their juice
    • freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 or 2 pinches allspice and freshly ground nutmeg
    • one batch of Aglaia's Yogurt and Olive Oil Béchamel Sauce

Salt the eggplant slices and place them in a colander. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile heat about one inch olive oil in a deep heavy skillet and fry the potato slices briefly, without letting them cook through. Alternatively you can brush the potato slices with olive oil and bake under the broiler. Layer the potatoes at the bottom of six individual glass or ceramic oven proof dishes, at least 2 1/2 inches deep (or a rectangular 9- by 12-inch dish).

Sauté the peppers in olive oil (the same you used for the potatoes, if you fried them) stirring often, until they start to color, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Keep only a third of a cup of the frying oil in the pan; pour the rest in a bowl and reserve. Sauté the ground lamb and sausage or bacon, if using, in the olive oil, stirring often for about 10 minutes. Add the onions and continue to sauté, stirring, for another eight minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add the Aleppo or red pepper flakes, the red wine, the currents, if using, and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken. Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg to taste, and remove from the heat.

Wipe the eggplant slices with paper towels and line on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with the reserved oil, and grill under the broiler, turning once, until golden on both sides.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Arrange the eggplant slices over the potatoes on the baking dish (or dishes). It doesn't matter if they overlap. Add the sautéed peppers over the eggplants and top with the lamb and tomato sauce.

Make the béchamel sauce. Pour the sauce over the meat or about a half cup sauce over each of the six baking dishes, top with some cheese, and bake for about 45 minutes until bubbly (individual portions need about 30 minutes). If you would like to further brown the top, place under the broiler for one to two minutes.

Serve hot or warm.

To learn more about the history of moussaka, read Aglaia's article about the dish here.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Aglaia Kremezi writes about food in Greek, European, and American magazines, publishes books about Mediterranean cooking in the U.S. and Greece, and teaches cooking classes. More

Aglaia Kremezi has changed her life and her profession many times over. She currently writes about food in Greek, European and American magazines, publishes books about Greek and Mediterranean cooking in the US and in Greece, and teaches cooking to small groups of travelers who visit Kea. Before that she was a journalist and editor, writing about everything, except politics. She has been the editor in chief and the creator of news, women's, and life-style magazines, her last disastrous venture being a "TV guide for thinking people," a contradiction in terms, at least in her country. She studied art, graphic design, and photography at the Polytechnic of Central London. For five years she taught photography to graphic designers while freelancing as a news and fashion photographer for Athenian magazines and newspapers. Editors liked her extended captions more than the pieces the journalists submitted for the events she took pictures for, so she was encouraged to do her own stories, gradually becoming a full time journalist and editor. You can visit her website at www.keartisanal.com.


Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

From This Author

Just In