Preparation: 50 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
4 large potatoes
olive oil for frying
For the minced beef sauce
800 grams of ground beef
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. tomato paste
800 g of chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 cup cognac
1 pinch of sugar
freshly ground pepper
For the bechamel sauce
1½ liter of milk at room temperature
6 full tablespoons corn flour
2 full tablespoons butter
2-3 pinches of freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup grated ‘kefalotiri’ or any hard, salty white cheese
Minced beef sauce
First brown off the minced beef in olive oil over high heat and after it changes color, add the onion and garlic. Let the onion soften for a few minutes and add the cognac. After the alcohol has completely evaporated, add the tomato paste and stir while cooking for 1 min. Continue adding the tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon and bay leaf. After 5 min remove the cinnamon and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and simmer the minced beef for 20 min, till all its liquids are evaporated. When the minced meat is ready, add a ladle full of bechamel sauce and mix together.
For the vegetables
We can cook all the vegetables in the oven for a lighter version. Traditionally we fry them to soften and let them drain well. Cut the eggplants, zucchini and potatoes into slices about 0.5 cm thick. Arrange eggplants and zucchini on baking sheets, salt them and sprinkle with olive oil. Cover them with a baking paper. Bake them at 200ºC, in a well preheated oven, for 10′-15 ′ to soften. Be careful not to dry them. Fry the potatoes in olive oil to soften and drain them on absorbent paper. Alternatively, sprinkle the potatoes with olive oil and bake them in the oven until soft.
For the besamel sauce
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, except the eggs and cheese. Stir with a whisk, bring the cream to a boil and set on medium heat. After it thickens slightly, remove from the heat and add the two beaten eggs and with quick movements incorporate them with the whisk into the cream. Finally, add half the cheese. Stir. Check the salt and pepper and add nutmeg if needed. Add a spoonful of bechamel to the minced beef sauce.
In a large, deep kitchen pan make a layer of potatoes. Put a layer of zucchini on top. Sprinkle with a little kefalotyri. Layer half the eggplants. Pour the whole minced meat in one layer. Cover the minced meat with the remaining eggplants and cover with the easy béchamel.
Bake at 180-200ºC for about 50 minutes.
The last few minutes before the end of baking, sprinkle with the remaining kefalotyri. Let the surface brown.
Remove the first piece of moussaka and put a thick piece of bread in its place, so that it absorbs the excess liquids and oils.
After baking the moussaka, let it stand at room temperature for at least 45 minutes before serving.