Moussaka is an important staple of Greek cookery for many centuries. Delicious lamb is covered by a layer of sauce and cheese.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 12
  • 3 medium eggplants; * see note
  • salt
  • 1/4 Cup butter
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 onions; chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fines herbes; crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Cup Basic Tomato Sauce; see Recipe
  • 1/2 Cup red wine
  • 4 Cups Basic White Sauce; see Recipe
  • 3 egg yolks; optional
  • olive oil for frying and for baking dish
  • 1 1/2 Cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or Kefalotyri
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add lamb, pepper, onions, garlic, and salt to taste; saute until meat is evenly browned (about 10 minutes), breaking it up with a fork as it cooks. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, fines herbes, parsley, and tomato sauce; stir, mixing well. Add wine and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced and mixture is quite thick (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. While lamb mixture simmers, prepare white sauce.
  3. For a richer sauce, beat the optional egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in some of the hot sauce. Add egg mixture to remaining white sauce and whisk to blend well. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wipe eggplant slices dry. With a pastry brush, lightly oil a skillet placed over high heat. Quickly fry eggplant slices until golden on both sides but still firm; remove to paper towels to drain. (If you follow this method closely the eggplant will not absorb too much oil.)
  5. Lightly oil a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Layer half of the eggplant in bottom of dish. Spoon lamb mixture over eggplant, sprinkle with a layer of cheese, and then top with remaining eggplant. Sprinkle with more cheese and then pour reserved white sauce evenly over the casserole. Lavishly sprinkle cheese over the top.
  6. Bake until cheese is golden brown (20 to 30 minutes). Do not overcook or eggplant will be too soft. Cool slightly.
Peel eggplants and cut lengthwise in 1/2-inch-thick slices. Liberally sprinkle with salt, place on paper towels, weight down with a heavy platter, and let stand to drain 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Cut in 3-inch squares to serve.

Zucchini Variation: For the eggplant, substitute 2 pounds zucchini, sliced lengthwise and fried briefly in olive oil.

Potato Variation: For the eggplant, substitute 2 pounds potatoes, cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices and fried a few minutes in olive oil.

Yield: 12 servings as a main dish.


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