Joanne Weir Follow @ChefJoanneWeir

Moussaka from the island of Syros

Moussaka from the island of Syros

I am so excited to share this recipe from Petrino Restaurant on the island of Syros, Greece!  

Serves 16


2 cups breadcrumbs tossed with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely grated kefalotyri cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano
2 large baking potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced, brushed w/ olive oil, roasted until slightly soft
4 large eggplant, peeled in stripes, thinly sliced, brushed with olive oil, roasted until cooked through and pliable
1 recipe meat sauce
1 recipe bechamel sauce


Preheat an oven to 350F.

Line the bottom of a deep casserole dish with 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs tossed with olive oil. Place a layer of the roasted potatoes over the breadcrumbs to cover bottom of pan completely. Sprinkle the potato generously with 1/2 cup of the grated Kafferi cheese.

Layer 1/2 of the eggplant over cheese to cover completely. Spoon the meat sauce on top of the eggplant and spread evenly. Top with 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, 1/2 cup of the remaining breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup of the remaining cheese. Cover the entire surface with the bechamel sauce. Finally, top with the rest of breadcrumbs and cheese.

Bake until golden and bubbling around the edges, 1 hour.

Let rest at least 30 minutes before serving.

Meat Sauce

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 large yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated with a microplane
1 28 ounce can tomatoes, peeled, seeded and crushed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large frying pan over medium high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the beef or turkey and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, salt and pepper and simmer slowly for 10-15 minutes.


Bechamel Sauce

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
3 egg yolks
4 cups whole milk
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. With a whisk, add the flour and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. With a whisk over medium heat, add the milk and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Watch the pan closely so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom. Season with salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg to taste. When the mixture is cool, whisk in 3 egg yolks until well mixed.