Ahhh, Greece, a true paradise on earth.

Beautiful postcard-worthy beaches covered in soft, warm dunes of sand islands embraced by an endless blue ocean, and we haven’t even started on the amazing food yet.

A great summer sunshine spot, Greece was definitely on our radar as a potential holiday spot this year. Unfortunately, many of us have had to cancel our holiday plans - but fear not, you can still experience delicious, fresh and mouth-watering Greek food from the comfort of your own home.

This week, we showcase some traditional Greek recipes, and in particular, one of the most iconic and savoury dishes in all of Greece, The Moussaka!


Now, you may be asking yourself, “what is Moussaka?” Well, this divine Greek comfort food mixes juicy, meaty flavourful sauces with rich, crisp wine to create a melting pot of flavours.. This meaty sauce is then layered between aubergine and potatoes and finally topped with a delicious cheesy béchamel (white) sauce.

We are definitely hungry now, so let’s get to cooking!

Classic Moussaka Recipe

Ingredients:

Moussaka
6 tbsp olive oil
3 aubergines
800g lamb mince (or meat of your choice)
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
3 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cinnamon
200ml red wine
2tsp paprika
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
½ tbsp of brown sugar
550g Maris Piper potatoes (small potatoes)
Béchamel Sauce
40g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
450ml whole milk
40g parmesan
1tsp powdered nutmeg
1 egg

Method:


1. We like getting the hard work out of the way first, so, grab yourself a chopping board and your sharpest knife. Other kitchen accessories you’ll need are 1 rectangular baking tray, 1 wok or casserole dish, 1 deep pan for boiling water, 1 deep baking pan/tray (rectangular is possible), 1 whisk, and one small saucepan.

2. Peel the potatoes and slice them into thin segments. Cut the aubergines in the same way and place them aside. Next, finely chop your onion and garlic and place those aside.

3. Here’s where the fun begins!
Place the aubergine on the lightly oiled baking tray slightly sprinkling them with salt and pepper. Place on top over the rack of the oven at 150C/120F fan/gas, turning them over to ensure both sides have softened and have turned golden then remove them accordingly.

4. Place your wok/casserole dish over medium-high heat, adding a tablespoon of oil and spreading it evenly. Fry your onion and garlic until golden, and then add the mince and fry until golden brown. Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, oregano, paprika and nutmeg. Stir thoroughly to make sure the spices have been mixed into the meat, coating them with spices and delicious flavours.

5. Add your red wine and bring to boil, continue by stirring in your canned tomatoes and sugar. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens. While you wait, enjoy some of that leftover wine, you deserve it!

6. Put the potatoes to boil and let’s get the cheesy sauce going. In your small saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring over medium heat for approximately 1 minute.

7. Remove from heat and slowly add your milk, whisking constantly until it gains a smooth consistency. Bring back to the heat and leave to simmer for 3 minutes. Once again, remove from the heat, adding parmesan and a whole egg, season accordingly.

8. Heat the oven to 200C/180Ffan/gas as your potatoes and mince should be ready by now.

9. Grab your deep baking tray and now we’ll be layering everything we’ve done so far. Think of this like layering a lasagne. Pour in a third of your meat, spreading evenly and levelling the layer, next, add the aubergine and potatoes, repeat this process until everything has been used up. Finish the process by spreading the white sauce over the layered meat and vegetables.

10. Place the tray into the middle of your oven and leave to cook for 50 minutes, checking regularly. If you notice the white sauce is becoming too dark, place a cover over the dish (tin foil or lid). Remove once the timer is over and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

11. Now, the part we’ve all been waiting for, grab your fork and dive in!

Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food: and The Mediterranean Dish:

Vegetarian Moussaka

Ingredients:

Moussaka
160g red lentils
550g Maris Piper potatoes (small potatoes)
1 tsp olive oil
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
1tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato purée
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube
½ tsp sea salt
2 large aubergines
2 tbsp parsley
Béchamel sauce
40g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
450ml whole milk
40g parmesan
1tsp powdered nutmeg
1 egg

Method:

1. Similar to the above, the moussaka will follow the same cooking method, the main difference will be swapping the mince for lentils. You’ll need 1 rectangular baking tray, 1 wok or casserole dish, 1 deep pan for boiling water, 1 deep baking pan/tray (rectangular is possible), 1 whisk, and one small saucepan.

2. Place lentils in a bowl, cover them with water and leave aside to soak. Peel the potatoes and slice them into thin segments, cut the aubergines in the same way and place them aside. Put potatoes to boil for approximately 15-20 minutes under medium heat.

3. Place the aubergine on the lightly oiled baking tray slightly sprinkling them with salt and pepper. Put the tray on a rack in the oven at 150C/120F fan/gas, turning them over to ensure both sides have softened and have a golden glaze over them - remove them accordingly.

4. Place your wok/casserole dish on medium-high heat and fry your onions and garlic until golden. Add thyme, oregano, cinnamon and tomato puree stirring regularly. Next, add the chopped tomatoes and stock cubes into the mix, treat yourself and have a little taste, seasoning accordingly.

5. Drain the lentils, stirring them into your mix. Leave them to simmer for 20 minutes, until lentils have softened and liquid thickened.

6. We’ll be creating the white sauce now. In your small saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring over medium heat for approximately 1 minute.
Remove from heat and slowly add your milk, whisking constantly until it gains a smooth consistency. Bring back to the heat and leave to simmer for 3 minutes. Once again, remove from the heat, adding parmesan and a whole egg, season accordingly. Don’t forget to drain your potatoes.

7. Grab your deep cooking tray and layer your dish. First a layer of the lentil mix, topped by aubergine and potatoes. Repeat the process until there is nothing left, topping the dish with your white sauce. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown colour.

8. Dig in and enjoy! We recommend a fresh green salad as aside.

Recipe courtesy of BBC Food:

There we have it, a traditional Greek dish made in the comfort of your own kitchen. We hope you enjoy and get to experience the taste of Greece, bringing back those summer holiday vibes. If you try out this recipe, don’t forget to tag us on social.