As with any Greek dish, moussaka is known for its many variations — top sauce vs. no top sauce, different vegetables and so on.
In this article, Canadian celebrity chef Christine Cushing shares her late father’s version which includes layers of meat, eggplant and potatoes topped with a bechamel sauce and baked.
“When you talk about family heirloom recipes, this is probably my family’s most cherished and favorite,” Cushing said. “My dad made the best moussaka I’ve ever tasted, period.”
See her father’s recipe below — with some of her own small tweaks — along with an instructional video.
Cushing is a television host who has been showing Canada how to cook for 15 years. Born in Athens, Greece, she moved to Canada with her family at the age of one.
The critically-acclaimed chef has hosted Christine Cushing Live and Dish it Out on Food Network Canada as well as Fearless in the Kitchen on Canada’s Oprah Winfrey Network.
Visit her website and follow her on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube
Moussaka (Christine Cushing’s Dad)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil (30 ml) [Buy your Greek extra virgin olive oil here]
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 lbs lean ground beef (950 gm)
- 1 jar of cc sauce or 28 oz. can plum tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste (15 ml)
- 1 tsp. Greek dried oregano (5 ml)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
- 2 Japanese eggplants, thinly sliced
- 3 zucchini, thinly sliced on bias
- 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- Salt and pepper dried oregano to taste
- Olive oil for baking
- 1/3 cup butter (80 ml)
- 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. flour(95 ml)
- 4 cups milk (1 L)
- Salt and pepper
- Grated nutmeg to taste
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (50 ml) 2 egg yolks lightly beaten
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
Meat sauce & vegetable layer
- In a large skillet, brown meat in olive oil , as per video, until evenly browned.
- Add onion and sweat until soft. Add garlic and saute for another two minutes. Add remaining ingredients for sauce and stir well. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F. Brush a large baking sheet with olive and arrange potato slices also brushed with oil. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and cayenne. Bake potatoes until golden brown and tender at 375 F for about 14-16 minutes.
- Repeat with eggplant and zucchini baked in oven at 375 D.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan and add flour. Cook over medium heat until blended.
- Remove from heat and gradually add cold milk, stirring continuously. Keep stirring over medium heat until sauce comes to a boil. Add the salt, pepper and grated nutmeg.
- Remove from heat and whisk in beaten egg yolks Add grated cheese.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Brush a 14 x 10″ baking dish with oil. Arrange potatoes in bottom of dish topped with half of the meat sauce. Arrange eggplant and zucchini on top and top with remaining meat sauce.
- Pour bechamel sauce over vegetables, spreading evenly. Bake for about 40 minutes or until bechamel is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 30 minutes before serving.
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