Prep 30 mins
Cook 50 mins
Unlike what you might expect, this is one of the easiest dishes in my repertory. In takes time to bake but preparation is a breeze. There are an awful lot of different moussakas that I suppose all originate from different parts of the Balkans. This is the most popular one in Bulgaria and when you order moussaka in a Bulgarian restaurant this is exactly what you are going to get. All others are named after the veggies used -- moussaka with zucchini, with eggplant or vegetarian moussaka (rice and vegetables).
- 3 lbs potatoes
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin (or more)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons oil (not needed if you use a nonstick pan for frying)
- 1 mushroom stock cubes
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 -3 eggs (depending on size)
- In a frying pan put the oil, the beef, the tomato paste, cumin, black and white pepper, nutmeg and some salt and start frying forcing the meat with a fork to fall apart into crumbs.
- When all the meat is falling apart remove from the fire and drain the excess fat (although you could also add it to the baking tin).
- Peel the potatoes and chop them into small pieces (1/2" or a bit smaller).
- Put half of the potatoes in a deep baking tin, spread the meat mixture over them and top it with the rest of the potatoes; you could use a larger or a smaller diameter tin depending on how thick you want your moussaka to be.
- Add water until only half of the top layer of potatoes stays uncovered by it and break the stock cube over it (BE CAREFUL – if you opt not to use the cube you’ll have to add some salt).
- Preheat the oven to a medium temperature and put the moussaka inches.
- In a bowl beat the yogurt with the eggs the thyme, a bit of salt and some black or white pepper if you want.
- When the water in the tin starts boiling and the potatoes start to cook, poor in the yogurt mixture taking care that it covers the potatoes entirely.
- Bake until the potatoes are done (about 45 min-1 h total baking time) but be careful not to burn the yogurt lid – you may want to lower the heat or to leave the oven heating from under the tin only.
- When ready take out of the oven and leave to cool a bit – potatoes cool very slowly.
- Serve very warm.