Moussaka is a time consuming dish to make but you can save some time by making the sauce ahead of time. Make sure you put aside at least 2 hours for preparation if you are making everything on the same day. The time spent pays off in unbelievable flavor!

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4 Chinese eggplants, sliced 1/4”
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1000g ground meat*
8-10 medium sized potatoes
1 1/2 cups pastini
2 1/2 cups water or beef stock

2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Ingredients (Bechamel)
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
10 cups milk
4 eggs, room temperature
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the eggplants and brush both sides with olive oil. Place on pan and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Slice the potatoes into 1/4” thickness and rest in water. Heat frying oil and fry potato slices until crispy and brown. Set aside for assembly.

Prepare the sauce by adding 3 tbsp olive oil into pot and heating. Brown the onion for 3 minutes and add the garlic and brown for an additional 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ground meat and cook thoroughly. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, sugar, pastini and liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens (30 – 45 minutes).

Prepare the Bechamel by melting the butter. Once the butter is melted, remove it from the heat and mix in the flour to make a roux (will form a clumpy, glue like mixture). Slowly add the milk a little at a time and stir into the roux. (By adding it a little at time, you avoid clumps.) Continue until the roux becomes liquid (approximately 4 cups). Stir in the remaining milk and the nutmeg. Return to a low heat and continuously stir until the sauce thickens. Once thick, add the Parmesan cheese and stir in until melted. Remove from heat. Beat the eggs and slowly pour in some of the sauce to temper them. Once the eggs have warmed up, whisk into the sauce.

Layer the moussaka by placing some sauce at the bottom of the pan, followed by a layer of potatoes sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Then layer the eggplant followed by the remaining sauce. Cover the sauce with bechamel and sprinkle with more Parmesan. Bake for 1 hour until the crust is golden. It is important to let the moussaka rest for at least 1 hour before cutting into serving sizes so the bechamel sets completely. Makes a 14” x 16” pan.

*You can use a combination of beef and lamb, beef and veal, or a single type. Combining the meats, however, add a depth of flavor.

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