Maria Elia’s moussaka
- October 2016
- Serves 8
- Hands-on time 1 hour 30 min, oven time 55-60 min, plus resting
Moussaka makes an excellent dinner party main. Maria Elia’s comforting recipe is made with minced veal, lamb and pork and topped with a cheesy halloumi topping.
You can see how Maria makes her moussaka in a step-by-step guide, here.
- 41.7g (19g saturated)
- 32.9g (8.7g sugars)
You can prep each element of the moussaka over the course of a day or two and assemble just before baking (see Make Ahead).
Use cyprus potatoes if you can find them: they’re full of flavour because they’re grown in mineral-rich soil. In the recipe, the potatoes act as a sponge and soak up the meat juices.
I use tomato passata from a jar but, if you can get them, a couple of large, full-flavoured beef tomatoes, chopped, would be great instead.
I prefer to roast my aubergines to cut down on oil and I like the slightly smoky flavour that roasting gives, but if you prefer, you can fry the slices instead. Sprinkle the aubergine slices with salt, leave in a colander for 30 minutes, rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper, then fry in plenty of olive oil (about 300ml) until softened and golden on both sides. Set the slices aside to drain on kitchen paper.
Keep tasting the meat sauce and adjust the seasoning as you go. If you have time, make the sauce the day before and chill overnight to let the flavours develop (see Make Ahead).
Let the cooked moussaka rest for at least 10 minutes before serving to let the sauce set. Greeks never eat their food piping hot – the heat stifles the flavour.
Prepare the béchamel sauce up to 48 hours in advance and keep covered in the fridge.
Prepare the meat sauce up to 2 days in advance and keep covered in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before assembling.
You can also assemble the moussaka and keep it unbaked in the fridge for up to 48 hours; or you can freeze it, unbaked, for up to 1 month. Fully defrost before baking.
Kefalotyri is a hard, salty Greek/Cypriot cheese made from sheep’s and/or goat’s milk. It’s available from Waitrose and Ocado, continental delis and online. If you can’t find it, you can use gruyère instead.
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