I wouldn't say this is an authentic Greek recipe for moussaka, but it's certainly tasty. A rich minced meat and tomato sauce, layered with aubergine (eggplant) and topped with a creamy bechamel sauce. I don't know any Greeks to try this moussaka on, but I'm sure they'd love it!
Greek moussaka has three components, the meat and tomato sauce, the aubergines (although Greeks sometimes use potatoes) and the béchamel sauce topping.
Pre-heat your oven to 230°C (446°F).
Meat and tomato sauce for the moussaka
In Greece, the meat is usually a mixture of minced beef and pork. In the UK, lamb is commonly used. I think the idea is to use what ever you've got! Peel and chop the onion and sauté in a little olive oil on medium heat until soft and translucent. If using garlic, peel and mince it and saute with the onion. Chop the tomatoes and add them to a large saucepan along with the tomato puree, cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. When the onions are softened, add them to the tomato base, turn the heat right up for the frying pan and add the meat. Break it up and cook it until it is browned all over, then add the wine. Keep stirring, still on high heat, until the wine has more or less evaporated. Add the meat and the pan scrapings to the tomato base and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Thinly slice the aubergine and fry in plenty of vegetable oil until golden on both sides. Alternatively, you can lightly coat the slices in oil and bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. When done, remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Bechamel sauce for the moussaka topping
Make a roux by melting the butter in a small pan on medium heat and stirring in the flour. Add the milk and cook until it has thickened. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cheese, and stir constantly until the cheese has melted.
Assemble the Greek-style moussaka
Butter the sides and bottom of an oven-proof dish. Place a layer of aubergine in the bottom, then spread about half of the meat sauce in a layer above it. Add another layer of aubergine, and then the rest of the meat sauce. Spread the béchamel sauce over the top, and bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
Take a rest
When you take the moussaka out of the oven, it will be golden, bubbling and begging for you to eat it. But you can't yet. You must let it rest for at least 30 minutes, so the bechamel sauce can firm up a little. Then you can eat it with a bit of salad. A real taste of Greece!