This recipe is from Mrs. Calombaris, the Greek mother of Georges Calombaris, judge in Masterchef Australia. In one of the Masterclasses of the 2011 contest, Georges let his mom make this divine moussaka. Best ever, no dought!!
1. Potatoes; peel and cut them in thin slices. Heat a pan with 2 cm of oil. Rinse and dry the potato slices first before frying them. Let them get a nice color but do not fry them completely "done", they have to go in the oven for another 45 minutes! Take the ones that are done out of the pan and replace with another slice until all potato slices are done. Put the cooked slices on paper towel to absorb the frying oil. Set aside.
2. Aubergines (eggplant); cut some of the peel off from top to toe, but not all of it, so they look like striped (optional imo). Cut in thin slices. Put in a colander and sprinkle each layer with a little salt. In 15 minutes time, the aubergines will "bleed" some bitter moist. Do not rinse, but put on paper towel to remove that bitter moist. Similar to the potatoes, fry in a pan in a lot of oil in the same systematic way. Also, do not fry them completely done, they still need to go in the oven. Add oil to the pan as needed. Same procedure as the potatoes; put on paper towel to get rid of an excess of oil.
3. Meatsauce; very similar to a bolognaise, but this sauce must be much more compact -let's say dryer- than bolognaise and cooks for only half an hour, no more. According to Mrs. Calombaris; don't start with frying onion or the whole preparation will have too much onion taste (she's right!!), but start with frying equal parts of minced meats; lamb, pork and beef. I use only pork and beef if lamb is not available. Panfry the meat until nicely crumbly, only then add chopped onion and garlic. Mrs. Calombaris insisted to add 3 herbs... or it's not a moussaka; a tbsp of oregano, tbsp of thyme and tbsp of rosemary. Then add passata and let cook for 30 minutes. s&p. Set aside.
4. Mornay sauce; or in plain language; a béchamel with cheese in it. Make a roux from equal parts butter and flour on low fire. Don't let it color but let this mixture fry for a while, add cold milk in stages and use a whisk to mix well. You need to make quite a thick sauce, so stop adding cold milk when the right consistency is there. Add s&p and nutmegg and a good handfull of cheese. I used Emmenthal and Gruyère, Mrs. Calombaris uses keftalograviera or something sounding like that. She also adds an eggyolk to the sauce, I don't.
5. Assemble the moussaka; start with a thin layer of meatsauce, then a layer of potato, then meatsauce and finally a layer of aubergine. Repeat these layers. Cover with a thick layer of Mornay sauce and a handful of grated cheese on top. 6. Bake in the oven; put in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F for 45 minutes. Let cool down a good 5-10 minutes and serve; see how nice it keeps together. Absolutely divine, and all credits to Mrs. Calombaris!
Potato and aubergine slices, fried and put on paper towel to absorb the cooking oil
Making layers of meatsauce, potato, meatsauce and aubergine...
Generous layer of Mornay sauce and baked in the oven