Mousaka

For a person who like’s baking, I find ordinary cooking, a task that anyone can make! Just by following the instructions.  I rarely look at recipes regarding food, only if I want to impress our dinner guests. So I decided to share my version of the “famous” Greek mousaka (trust me, I’m Greek!).  My version, is the standard version, the rustic one and you can say that it’s the proper way because a Greek told me so! I would like to warn you though; it’s time consuming, multitasking but totally worth it! It’s preferable to eat it for lunch or in more cold days but after you taste it, you are the judge of that!

Ingredients we are going to need:

1 kilo of ground meat (preferably half beef/ half pork)

2 ripe tomatoes

1 onion

Virgin olive oil

Salt/ pepper/ thyme/oregano/garlic

Approximately 4 Potatoes

Approximately 4Eggplants

Approximately 4 zucchini

Béchamel sauce

1 liter whole fat milk

5 tbs butter

7 tbs flour

a pinch of salt

a pinch of nutmeg

a pinch of white pepper

Grated Cheese

Just make sure you have enough oil and spices! And, we are starting!

It can go 2 ways if you like. Our vegetables must be cut in thin slices, from that point, you can either fry them in olive oil (which will make you consume you both a great amount of time and olive oil) or the healthy way to grill them in the oven. Place the slices one next to the other, place brush in a cup of olive oil and cover them thin layer of oil! Then salt and pepper them and let them grill until slightly brown and crunchy (about 15 minutes). Because we have 3 vegetables, if you have 2 pans, put them at once and you will have to grill about 3 to 6 times only! Again, not particular difficult as a task, just you have to keep an eye on everything. Each time you take out the grilled vegetables, you have to keep them separated in 3 plates. If you want to gain time, you can prepare the meat at the same time. You place a big pot on the kitchen at a medium to high heat. You place enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot and then you fry a thin sliced onion until it becomes transparent (normally after a minute), not brown and then you place the minced meat in the pot. You stir so the meat won’t stick to the pot and when it turns from red to a more cooked color, you add the tomatoes smashed and some tomato sauce. You season it with a generous amount of salt, pepper, thyme and oregano and garlic. You can use either dried garlic or 2 cloves.

After the tomatoes, reduce the fire and check every now and then the pot, give it a little stir and in about 45 minutes, your meat is ready! It’s almost like making the sauce for spaghetti bolognaise!  You take it off the fire and and expect to get a little cold until you finish your vegetables.

Take a big pan, and start building! You place the potatoes on the bottom, so they create a layer, then place the zucchini and finally the eggplants. If it’s a transparent pan, you can see the 3 layers. Place on top of that the cooked meat, like in lasagna. You keep it aside and prepare the béchamel sauce. Preheat the oven in 180 degrees. Melt the butter in a  frying pan at low heat  and stir with flour until combined. Add the spices and keep steadily add the milk while whisking the mix until it’s a nice white sauce with no knobs. You have to be quick, otherwise it will soon become one big blob that you can’t use. Place it on the pan and add any kind of grated cheese that melts on top, like this!

Then you will leave it for an hour (but checking it in between). When all the cheese has melted and smells divine, the food is ready to be served!

It’s really healthy (if not fried) and super comforting! Be ready to amaze your guests!

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