Moussakas casserole, the Cypriot version of the Greek moussakas, made with potatoes and minced pork sauce cooked in a casserole, simple and easy to make and very tasty. Mrs Amalia made this quite often and I understand why, and you will too!
The Cypriot kitchen may seem heavy with many fried vegetables, but mind you that here on the island the warm meal is eaten at between twelve and two o'clock midday. A large salad is always part of the meal and vegetables are always fresh and in season. In the evenings something small is for dinner, a small yogurt, or just a cup of hot milk with some granulated coffee.
Apart from potatoes also eggplant and or courgette may be used, or all three. If you insist on a healthier version, grill the potatoes first or boil them for 10 minutes and any other ingredients used like eggplant and or courgette either grill them or raw, these veggies are so soft that they will cook beautifully in the meat sauce.
500 gr minced pork.
1 onion finely chopped.
1 glove of garlic optional.
2-3 large ripe tomatoes.
1 teaspoon tomato paste dissolved in 125 ml hot water.
4-5 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley.
2-3 table spoons of olive oil.
125 ml dry white wine of good quality, rose is also good.
salt and pepper.
1/2 teaspoon of dry basil.
1/2 teaspoon of dry oregano.
2-4 teaspoons of paprika.
pinch of cinnamon.
3-4 potatoes cut in thick slices.
oil for frying the potatoes.
Add some olive oil to a large frying pan, heat up and add the finely chopped onion. Fry until the onion is soft and glazed.
Sprinkle on the minced pork some salt and pepper and paprika (optional).
As soon as the onion is ready add the minced pork and with a spatula turn the meat around until nicely browned.
Add the wine to the browned meat and simmer for about two minutes for the alcohol to evaporate.
Add the pureed tomatoes and the tomato paste dissolved in a little hot water. At this stage add also the other spices.
Simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes, the sauce should be thick but not dry.
Taste the sauce on salt and pepper and add both accordingly.
When the minced pork sauce is ready, take it off the heat and add the finely chopped parsley, give it a quick turn and the sauce is ready.
Peel and wash the potatoes and any other vegetables if used, and cut them in thick slices.
Fry the potatoes in hot oil (vegetable or olive oil) until light brown. As mentioned above it is also possible to boil the potatoes for 10 minutes or grill them beforehand.
In a medium size casserole (24 diameter) add a thick layer of the meat sauce. The remaining sauce will go on top.
Place the potatoes on top of the meat sauce.
When other veggies are used as well, lay them in neatly layers on top of the potatoes, courgettes first and then eggplant.
Add the remaining meat sauce on top of the potatoes. Add 125 ml of hot water. Simmer the moussakas until the potatoes are fully cooked and they absorbed the juices and aromas of the meat sauce, about 45 minutes. Do not stir the moussakas, only slightly slide the casserole round now and then.
Serve hot with a crisply salad on the side.
Enjoy - καλή όρεξη!