Crock Pot Moussaka
So this is what happens when you move and can’t find your large casserole dishes. Easy solution, just pull out the crock pot. This version of Crock Pot Moussaka definitely worked and still tasted delicious as if it were cooked in the oven. I just didn’t get the nice presentation when you cut into it just like a slice of Lasagna. In hindsight, I could have bought a couple of large aluminum foil throw away pans, but at least I saved the planet this way.
Moussaka is an eggplant and potato based dish that includes ground meat. It is common in the Balkans and the Middle East, with many local and regional variations. The best-known version in America is the Greek version created in the 1920s by Nikolaos Tselementes. In his version, he added the Bechamel Sauce to top the dish. When I lived in Chicago, I would stop in Greek town and have Moussaka when I was going to college. It’s a hearty meal that taste wonderful.
Like a Lasagna, this is a layered dish.
For the meat mixture, brown the ground beef in a pan, breaking up any large pieces of ground beef. Add the tomato paste, chopped onions and ground cinnamon. Stir frequently. Add the wine, salt, pepper and sugar. Add some water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Next, peel the potatoes and slice them into 1/4 inch slices. Please note the potatoes are optional. I didn’t have any when I made this, but I have added them in the past. Slice the eggplants into thick rounds and fry. I will say that I have done this two ways. I sometimes fry the eggplant and other times I just blanched them in boiling water. If you blanche them, you don’t want them mushy. You should be able to remove the eggplant rounds without falling apart with a fork. Let the potatoes and eggplant drain on a baking pan lined with paper towels.
After this, you need to make a béchamel sauce. In a clean pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk to make a roux. Gradually add the milk, a little at a time, making it into a smooth mixture. Once the béchamel sauce thickens and bubbles start to form on the surface, remove it from heat. Add the salt, freshly ground black pepper and grated nutmeg. Once slightly cooled, add the beaten eggs, and whisk thoroughly.
On to the layers, in the crock pot, add a layer of the meat mixture on the bottom. Next a thin layer of potatoes, followed by a layer of the eggplant and then the grated cheese (yes, the photo shows sliced cheese, I hadn’t found my grater yet). Repeat the layers. The top should end with some meat mixture and the béchamel sauce. Finish with a little bit of grated cheese.
The traditional Greek Moussaka uses Greek Kefalotyri Cheese. This is the white cheese shown below. It comes in a brick. I typically purchase it from iGourmet.com. You can also purchase it from Amazon, but it is from igourmet. This cheese is very close to Parmesan Cheese, which I have also used when they are out of Kefalotyri. I can’t really taste the difference, but someone from Greece might. The yellow cheese is a shredded cheddar cheese that I had. I do prefer the finely shredded as it melts better.
If I were doing this in the oven, you would bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes. However, in the crock pot, I cooked on high for 4 hours and then reduced to low heat for another 1 1/2 hours. Scoop out of the crock pot and serve.
If you like my Crock Pot Moussaka recipe, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you made it, post your wonderful images on Instagram and tag me. Don’t forget to subscribe and you will be emailed each time I post a new recipe.
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 16 oz tomato paste
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pinches of sugar
- 16 ounces of water
- 2 large potatoes, sliced (optional)
- 2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- salt, pepper and nutmeg
- 3/4 cup grated Greek Kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
- Step 1 For the meat mixture, in a large frying pan, brown the ground beef in a pan, breaking up any large pieces of meat. Add the tomato paste, diced onions and ground cinnamon. Stir frequently. Add the wine, salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add some water, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Step 2 In a large pot, add the peeled and sliced eggplant. Par-boil until they are just starting to get tender, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the water and drain. Pat dry and set aside. You can fry these instead. Do the same with the sliced potatoes.
- Step 3 Béchamel Sauce – In a clean pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk to make a roux. Gradually add the milk, a little at a time, making it into a smooth mixture. Once the béchamel sauce thickens and bubbles start to form on the surface, remove it from heat. Add the salt, freshly ground black pepper and grated nutmeg. Once slightly cooled, add the beaten eggs, and whisk thoroughly.
- Step 4 In a large casserole dish or 6.5 quart crock pot, place a layer of the meat mixture on the bottom. Next add a layer of the potatoes, followed by the eggplant. Then a layer of the grated cheddar cheese and repeat.
- Step 5 Pour the Béchamel Sauce over the top of the casserole layers. Add a little grated cheese on top.
- Step 6 Oven – Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes. Crock pot – Cook on high for 4 hours and then reduced to low heat for another 1-2 hours until evereything is firm/set.