Greek Moussaka With Potatoes

Greek moussaka with potatoes

Philippe Desnerck / Getty Images

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Cool: 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 casserole
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1307 Calories
64g Fat
113g Carbs
69g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 1307
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 64g 82%
Saturated Fat 29g 146%
Cholesterol 438mg 146%
Sodium 612mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 113g 41%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 69g
Vitamin C 45mg 226%
Calcium 503mg 39%
Iron 11mg 60%
Potassium 3062mg 65%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Moussaka with potatoes is a terrific choice for those who don't care for the well-known version with eggplant and also when eggplant is not in season. Like all moussaka dishes, this is a layered dish of sliced potatoes, a meat sauce, cheese, and a creamy béchamel sauce. In Greece, moussaka is most often made with ground beef, though lamb is an excellent substitute.

Moussaka is traditionally served in very large pieces, and it is a heavy dish. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread, and dry red wine. If anyone has room for dessert, a fruit sorbet or cheese with fruit is a light way to end on a sweet note.

Ingredients

For the Meat Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 medium onions, chopped

  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef

  • 3 cups chopped ripe tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup finely ground toasted breadcrumbs

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3 cloves garlic, mined

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or 1-inch cinnamon stick)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 6 to 8 whole cloves

  • 1/2 cup red wine

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

For the Béchamel:

  • 6 cups whole milk

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 15 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Ground nutmeg, to taste

  • 3 to 9 egg yolks

For the Casserole:

  • 5 to 6 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices

  • 1/2 cup finely ground toasted breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup kefalotyri cheese

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this Greek dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Meat Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat frying pan or skillet over low heat. When pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil and increase heat to medium-low.

  3. Add onions. Sauté until translucent, stirring often.

  4. Add meat and continue to sauté until lightly browned.

  5. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic, cinnamon, bay leaves, allspice, cloves, wine, and tomato paste. Mix well.

  6. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. If there is still liquid in pan, continue to simmer uncovered, stirring to prevent sticking, until mixture is as dry as possible. This step is crucial to prevent the final dish from having too much moisture.

  7. When dry, discard bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon stick (if used), and set sauce aside uncovered until ready to use.

Make the Béchamel Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large saucepan, heat milk over medium-low heat until hot.

  3. In another large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. As soon as it melts, add flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps.

  4. Increase heat to medium-low and add hot milk slowly, stirring constantly with a whisk.

  5. Continue stirring until sauce begins to thicken; it should be creamy, but not too thick.

  6. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  7. Working with 1 egg yolk at a time, beat yolk with a fork, and stir into béchamel until desired color is reached.

  8. Return to heat, whisking briskly until well blended.

  9. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Make the Casserole

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large frying pan, sauté potato slices until lightly browned.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a large baking or roasting pan and sprinkle bottom with breadcrumbs.

  4. Place a layer of potato slices on breadcrumbs (it's OK to overlap).

  5. Spread meat sauce evenly on top of potatoes.

  6. Cover with remaining potato slices, and carefully pour béchamel sauce evenly over top.

  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

  8. Sprinkle cheese over top and continue to cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

  9. Remove moussaka from oven and allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tips

  • Moussaka is traditionally eaten warm, not hot, but it can also be eaten at room temperature and is great on the second day.
  • Moussaka can be prepared up to the béchamel and refrigerated overnight. The next day, add the béchamel and cook. It can also be completely cooked and cooled, then frozen. Defrost completely and reheat.

Recipe Variations

  • Switch from beef to ground lamb if you prefer.
  • Use 3 cups of canned tomatoes if you don't have fresh ones available.
  • Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano can be used instead of Greek kefalotyri cheese.