by James Belardo
Moussaka is one of our all-time favorite Greek dishes but it’s fairly labor intensive. The actual assembly doesn’t take long but the preparation of the individual components may take a bit of time. It’s best to start early and plan each stage. It’s a nice dish to serve when company is coming over because the final stages are relatively easy.
Ideas for celebrating or a good excuse to make Moussaka!
Greek Orthodox Easter – You can celebrate Greek Orthodox Easter with Moussaka because it usually falls a week or two after the ‘observed’ Easter. This way it won’t interfere with your own easter traditions>
Springtime – After a long winter it’s nice to celebrate the coming spring by making something a little special. Plan a day around making Moussaka
Greek Independence Day – March 25th marks the beginning of the Greek War of Independence (from the Ottoman Empire in 1821). Tradition would have you eat fried bakaliaro (cod) and skordalia (garlic sauce) but we think Moussaka would be perfect.
- Greek Salad – cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, Kalamata Olives and Greek Feta (Greek dressing (olive oil, fresh lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, oregano and caper))
- Maroulosalata (Greek lettuce salad) (Romaine lettuce + Greek dressing (olive oil, fresh lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, oregano and caper)
- Cucumber with Greek Feta and Mint (olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper)
- Green Beans – steamed and tossed with lemon, butter and olive oil
- Mixed Vegetables – Cauliflower, Broccoli, carrots
- Greek-Style Grilled Vegetables (see recipe)
- Grilled asparagus
- Greek style rice – use chicken stock and mix in lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice, oregano, and some sautéed diced peppers
- Burnt Butter Rice – use chicken stock and add 1/4 cup of burnt butter (for 1 cup uncooked rice)
2 lbs. ground beef or veal (or lamb)
2 small-medium sized eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1-2 medium zucchini thinly sliced
1.5 lb. potatoes, thinly sliced (peeled and precooked). Do not use baking potatoes, they’ll become too soft
1 onion finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
1 cup hand-crushed tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes)
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups Seasoned bread crumbs (preferably home-made)
4 eggs – whites, lightly beaten (reserve yolks for the bechamel).
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (trad. Kefalotyri)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup warm milk
4 egg yolks, beaten lightly
1. In 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté the onions and garlic until the onions begin to turn translucent and the garlic softens
2. Add the ground beef and cook until beginning to brown
3. Add the red wine and let cook until reduced by 50% or so. before
4. Add the hand-crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, let reduce until the sauce is thick…
5. add salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice.
6. Toss in some chopped flat leaf parsley and set aside.
The Grape Gourmet
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