As we said before, it’s good to reach for aubergine from time to time, so here comes another recipe with this great vegetable. Moussaka is probably one of the most mysterious, ambiguous and unique dishes. Why? Well, first of all, nobody can tell, how exactly this dish was invented. And second, there are multiple various versions of it, so it’s a real godsend for those who like to improvise in the kitchen!
Actually, it is wrongly considered that moussaka is a greek course because it is cooked not only in Greece but also in Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Turkey and other countries in the Mediterranean region including also the Arab ones. Moussaka was mentioned for the first time on pages of cookbooks in the 13th century. Of course, every place has its own variation of moussaka.
In Turkey instead of aubergines are used marrow squash and peas, in Bulgarian moussaka, you will find minced meat, aubergines and potatoes with sour cream, cabbage and marrow squash. The Arabian version of this dish is a light salad made from layers of aubergines and tomatoes, the Croatian moussaka is much more nutritious as in it are added noodles and even mushrooms.
And finally the Creek moussaka. The recipe as we know it day and which is made by thousands of creek housewives appeared in the year 1920 thanks to chef Nicholas
We could talk for ages about the rumours and legends around this dish, but let us get to work and cook the classic moussaka right now!
Ingredients for Moussaka:
- 2 aubergines (400 g)
- 400 g of minced meat (we suggest beef or lamb)
- 200 g of onions (4 medium onions)
- 200 ml of white wine
- 1 can of tomatoes (200g, peeled and chopped)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 tsp of Mediterranean herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, savoury, parsley)
- 1 tsp of dried peppermint
- 1/2 tsp of paprika
- 1/4 tsp of spicy paprika
- 1 tbsp of olive oil (for frying)
- bechamel sauce (half of the portion from this recipe)
- 75 g of Bryndza cheese (hard and salty sheep cheese, can be replaced by normal cheese) – optional
Cooking the ingredients:
- We’ll start by preparing minced meat with onions. If you bought prepared minced meat, mix it with peeled and blended onions. If you, like us, are preparing minced meat at home, add onions to the meat while mincing it (peel and cut the onions in 4-8 pieces before adding to the meat).
- Heat the pan, fry the garlic chopped into little pieces for 1 minute. Add the minced meat mixed with onions. Fry it for 10 minutes on medium heat, mixing all the times.
- Add white wine, after 2 minutes add tomatoes with all the herbs and spices. Add salt and paper as you like. Next, mix it all together well and boil, after that lower the temperature and simmer around 20 minutes, mixing it from time to time.
- Grill the aubergines while simmering the meat sauce. Wash the aubergines and cut into 6 mm slices, add a pinch of salt and olive oil. Grill them with the electric grill for 2-4 minutes as we did or in the oven with grill function (for 6 minutes on each side). If you can’t grill the aubergines, fry them on the frying pan for 3 minutes on each side.
- Prepare half portion of bechamel sauce from this recipe.
Preparing the layers:
6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
7. Now, take a casserole dish (around 1,5 l capacity), we took the round dish, but any shape will do, a higher one will be better. Oil the casserole dish with some olive oil. Divide the grilled aubergines into 3 portions. Next, on the bottom of the dish put one layer of aubergines using one portion, cover it with half of the meat sauce, put another layer of aubergines, cover with the rest of meat sauce, put the last layer of aubergines.
8. Grate the Bryndza cheese or cheese into bechamel sauce (leave some grated cheese for topping).
9. After that, cover the last layer of aubergines with the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle on top with the rest of grated cheese.
10. Bake in the covered casserole dish for around 30 minutes. In the end, take off the cover from the dish for the last 10 minutes.
Enjoy the pure taste of Mediterranean cuisine! We hope it will bring you back memories of your vacations by the sea 😉 By adding Bryndza cheese to the bechamel sauce, you’ll get your moussaka a very original taste. We are sure that you’ll love it!
Here you can find more interesting recipes with aubergine.