Macedonian musaka (not moussaka) is a little different to the Greek kind. Admittedly I do love the Greek version too, but the Maco version typically uses beef over lamb and there’s no béchamel cheese sauce. The other key difference is that you can make it solely with potatoes or sliced zucchini.
As it’s winter here in Australia, I opted for potatoes, but if it’s summer where you are, replace the potatoes with slices of zucchini or eggplant (aubergine).
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
60g speck, skin removed and finely diced (optional)
600g beef, minced
1-2 garlic cloves, finely diced
4 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup (55g) medium grain rice, washed and drained (optional)
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1 medium tomato, blanched, peeled and roughly chopped (or 3 tablespoons of an Italian style tomato passata)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced 5mm thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon mild paprika
2 1/2 cups (625ml) hot water
1 medium tomato, blanched, peeled and finely chopped (or 3 tablespoons of an Italian style tomato passata)
1-2 teaspoons sea salt (or a dried vegetable stock e.g. Vegeta/Massel)
Freshly ground black pepper
4-5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1) Preheat oven to 200°C.
2) Heat a medium frying pan over low-medium heat. Add oil then onions and a sprinkling of salt, saute without colouring (5 minutes).
3) Turn heat up slightly to medium, add speck and cook until lightly browned (3 minutes).
4) Turn heat up again to high and add minced beef, stir continuously until liquid evaporates and meat browns (7-10 minutes).
5) Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and mix through, when fragrant (1 minute) add sun-dried tomatoes, then rice and stir to coat (2 minutes).
6) Add paprika and mix through, once fragrant (1-2 minutes) add tomato and stir until the tomato smells fragrant (2-3 minutes). Season with white pepper, salt and black pepper.
7) Spray or brush an oven proof baking dish/tray with olive oil. Line the potato slices in a single layer. Top with the meat and rice mix and layer the remaining potato slices on top in a single layer.
8) To make the sauce heat olive oil in the same frying pan (medium heat). Add flour and stir frequently with a wooden spoon, being careful not to burn the flour (3-5 minutes). Have the hot water and a whisk close by. When the flour starts to smell like it’s cooking add paprika and stir continuously until fragrant (1 minute). Add 100ml of hot water and whisk vigorously, once incorporated add another 100ml and whisk again until incorporated, continue to do this until you have a smooth sauce (3-5 minutes). Add tomato, salt, ground black pepper and white pepper to taste. Bring to the boil and remove from heat.
Note: For image see Village-style Spinach Stew recipe.
9) Pour the sauce over layered potatoes and meat until the potatoes are just covered. Bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
10) In a bowl combine eggs, milk, salt and black pepper to taste and lightly whisk, set aside.
11) Remove musaka from oven and pour over lightly beaten eggs, drizzle with olive oil. Return to oven and increase temperature to 250°C. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden on top.
12) Serve immediately with natural yoghurt and a green salad.
- For a low-carb version replace potatoes with zucchini.
- During summer replace the bottom layer of potatoes with sliced eggplant and add basil to the meat and rice mix.
- For kids that won’t eat vegetables add finely diced carrot and celery to the meat mix.