Moussaka

I discovered Moussaka in Greece many years ago. It was something good. I was travelling in Greece by myself. I remember being in Mycenae, the old archaeological site in the Peloponnese. I was in the porch of a restaurant. And I ordered Moussaka. It was good, really good! I loved it.
Cooking Moussaka takes time and work, but it is not hard. Eggplant is the main ingredient. Ground lamb should be used to make Moussaka but I normally use ground beef. It is good too. And this time, use extra virgin olive oil. It will give a special taste to our Moussaka. I love cheese, so my Moussaka will have loads of cheese. Maybe this is not very orthodox, but it is delicious.

Ingredients:

Some extra virgin olive oil
Some salt
3-4 potatoes
1 eggplant
½ lb ground or chuck beef (or ground lamb)
Some tomato sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Some ricotta cheese
6 gruyere cheese slices
Some grated parmesan cheese
Some grated romano cheese
Some milk
Some flour
A pinch of nutmeg

Cooking Moussaka takes time, as I said before, but it is worth it. We will start preparing the potatoes and the eggplant. We will peel the potatoes and cut them into ¼-inch thick slices. A bit thicker if you want. To know how many potato slices I need, what I do is putting the potato slices in the tray that I will use later with the Moussaka in the oven. In that way I will know the amount of potato slices I will need for a layer of potatoes. Once I have the potatoes I will fry them in a frying pan in two batches. The potatoes must not be completely done. Leave them on kitchen paper towel because we do not want too much oil. Then we will do the same with the eggplant. After washing it, we will slice it in the same way. We will slice enough eggplant for a layer. Then we will fry the eggplant slices. We will need more oil for the eggplants, but it is a good idea not to use too much. We can fry them using a wooden spoon. Press the slices with the spoon so that they get enough oil. Once fried, leave the eggplant slices on kitchen paper towel.
The next step will be the sauce. We will put the meat in a frying pan and we will start cooking it. When the meat starts browning, we will add the tomato and cook it in a low heat for about ten minutes. Then we will add the spices (cinnamon, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, salt and pepper). Keep cooking it for a while in a low heat. And then we will take the tray and start layering the Moussaka. First of all, we will grease the oven tray. Then the first layer will be the potatoes. On top of that, a layer of the tomato sauce with the meat. Then the eggplant slices. At that moment we put the tray in the preheated oven to 400ºF for about ten minutes.
We will prepare the sauce now, a Béchamel Sauce. To do this, we will put two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and we will heat it. We will add three tablespoons of flour. Stir continuously and add some milk, little by little. We will add the nutmeg now. We have to get a creamy Béchamel Sauce so we will have to be adding milk to get the sauce we need. Stir and do not let the sauce get too thick. Once it is done, remove it from the fire.
Now we will take the tray out of the oven. And now the cheese. First we will spread some ricotta cheese. On top of that the gruyere cheese slices. Then we will top it with the béchamel sauce. Then we will put some parmesan and romano cheese. You can use some mozzarella cheese if you want too. And then back to oven so that the cheese melts and makes a really creamy Moussaka. Some fifteen minutes will be OK, but you can check the oven to see when the Moussaka is ready. And enjoy! I can’t wait to make it!