Layered Eggplant and Lamb Casserole (Moussaka)
Moussaka may be a clichéd symbol of Greek cooking, its reputation ruined by too many heavy, tasteless versions. But when made right, this eggplant and lamb casserole is an enticing mix of flavors and textures that meld beautifully in the oven.
Why This Recipe Works
For an authentic moussaka recipe, we quickly determined that roasting presented a better option than frying, producing a less oily, slick casserole. We cut the eggplant into cubes rather than slices before roasting, so they would fit on two baking sheets and could be cooked all at once. To reduce greasiness and gamy lamb flavor, we opted to drain off most of the fat after browning it when making our meat sauce. We then turned to the béchamel for our moussaka recipe, toying with butter, flour, and milk ratios until we made an extremely thick béchamel that sat on top of the casserole instead of running into the other layers. Myzithra cheese is added to the béchamel in traditional versions, but we found a good substitute in Parmesan.