lamb moussaka

We’re Greek, we speak Greek, we eat Greek, the only other people we know are Greek, and we only marry Greeks.

lamb moussaka | conifères & feuillusIn the 80’s, here in Montreal, I attended a high school where the majority of the students were of  Greek heritage. Though the quote above sounds like it could be a line from the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it was the sort of thing that my Greek friends would tell me all the time. Interesting, I’d reply “That sounds so much like us Indians.”

And though I’m lucky to have a lot of Greek friends, none could give me their mother’s recipe for moussaka. The older Greek generation doesn’t rely on written recipes I’m told. Again, something I could relate to as my parents cooked much the same way— a handful of this, a pinch of that and a delicious dinner was served in no time. Hence, years ago, my husband and I turned to our trusty The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook— the lamb moussaka recipe for him and the kids and the vegetarian moussaka recipe for me.  But over the past few years, my husband has been reducing his intake of meat and merged the two recipes to get this Lamb Loaded with Vegetables Moussaka recipe. It’s really good.. my Greek friends concur!

lamb moussaka | conifères & feuilluslamb moussaka | conifères & feuilluslamb moussaka | conifères & feuilluslamb moussaka | conifères & feuilluslamb moussaka | conifères & feuillus

Lamb Moussaka (adapted from recipes from The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook)

(You will need three 3.3 L baking dishes, preferably with a lid that seals well as two dishes can be frozen for later use.)

Meat Sauce

  • 200 g onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 g garlic clove, minced
  • 1 kg lean ground lamb (zero fat*)
  • 540 ml canned tomatoes, diced
  • 156 ml tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Greek oregano, dried and crushed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Heat oil in a large pot.
  2. Add onions and soften.
  3. Add garlic and cook for additional 1 minute
  4. Mix in lamb, breaking up clumps, cook until browned.
  5. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, spices and salt.
  6. Heat until simmering and then allow to simmer (uncovered) for 10 minutes until thickened; the mixture should not fill in when a spoon is drawn through the pan.
  7. Set aside. (Refrigerate if you make it well ahead of time.)

*The best way to ensure having lean ground lamb is to buy it in chunks, cut off the fat, and then grind it yourself at home.

Tomato Sauce

  • 300 g onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 g garlic clove, minced
  • 340 g red pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 300 g zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 540 ml canned tomatoes, diced
  • 156 ml tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Greek oregano, dried and crushed
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Heat oil in a large pot.
  2. Add onions and soften.
  3. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  4. Add red pepper and zucchini and cook 5 minutes until softened.
  5. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, spices and salt.
  6. Heat until boiling and then allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Set aside. (Refrigerate if you make it well ahead of time.)

Cheese Sauce

  • 130 g butter, unsalted
  • 60 g flour (I use white whole wheat)
  • 1 kg whole milk
  • 800 g feta, crumbled
  • 500 g cottage cheese, drained before use
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Melt butter.
  2. Whisk in flour, stirring continuously to ensure no clumps and that it does not burn.
  3. Once homogeneous, stir in milk, spices and salt and bring to a boil while continuously stirring.
  4. Lower heat to just simmer and continue stirring until it thickens to the point the sauce can coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Set aside and cool, stirring occasionally to avoid a film on top.
  6. Combine feta and cottage cheese in a large bowl.
  7. Add cooled milk mixture to cheese mixture.
  8. Add eggs and mix to get a homogeneous mixture.
  9. Set aside. (Refrigerate if you make it well ahead of time.)

Eggplant

  • 2 kg eggplant, sliced lengthwise, 1/4 inch thick
  • olive oil, lots of it
  1. Place eggplant on cookie sheet in a single layer and brush both sides with olive oil. (You will need to do this in batches)
  2. Broil on the top level of oven until golden brown, careful not to burn.
  3. Flip over and repeat.
  4. Stack cooked eggplant slices in a large dish and repeat until all the eggplant slices are cooked.

Assembly (do this for each baking dish)

  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
    (optional)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (optional)
  1. Layer meat sauce, 1/2 inch thick, in a 3.3 L baking dish.
  2. Add cheese sauce over the meat sauce, spread but do not mix.
  3. Place eggplant in a single layer, overlapping if required to cover the cheese sauce.
  4. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Add another layer of eggplant.
  6. Add another layer of cheese sauce.
  7. Lightly sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and bread crumbs, if using.
  8. Bake in 350 °F oven for about 1 hour, until browned and bubbly or freeze for up to one month.

 

 

 

13 thoughts on “lamb moussaka

    1. It’s funny how our cultures are. I’m so glad to live in a country where I can meet people from different parts of the world and get to know their food as well! I have so many Greek words and phrases in my vocabulary but they all are all failing me right now… happy Sunday! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow Annika – this looks delicious and a great reminder of just how good Greek food can be. I too often default to Italian – need to re-read the Greek section of my Mediterranean cook book!

    Liked by 1 person

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