The mussaka is a dish that has the origins in the Middle East, initially being a combination of eggplant and tomato, a kind of salad served as entree. The Greeks have taken the recipe and have turned it into a dish cooked in the oven, made from layers of eggplant, alternating with layers of minced meat, covered with white sauce.
In the Balkan version the recipe was adapted and the potatoes have taken the place of the eggplant. In Romania, the Balkan variant, with potatoes became very popular and today is considered a traditional food.
Here is a simple recipe and easy to prepare, taken from grandma's recipe book:
Ingredients: 700g ground meat (can be: pork, beef, mixed or poultry), 1.5 kg of potatoes, 2 onions, 5-6 tablespoons oil, 3-4 cloves of garlic, 300 ml broth / tomato juice, 1 teaspoon paprika, pepper, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 eggs, parsley. Preparation:
Peel the potatoes and cut into slices, fry them on both sides, and if they are thin, leave them unroasted. There is also the lightest variant in which the potatoes can be boiled in the shell then peeled and sliced. Chop the onions and garlic and fry them in oil for 2-3 minutes, add the thyme, pepper, paprika, salt and 200 ml of tomato sauce. Add the meat and cook it for another 6-7 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Brush with oil a baking tray and begin the operation of alternating the layers: first a layer of potatoes, then meat, sprinkle with chopped parsley, follows other alternating layers and finally cover with potatoes. Beat the eggs, add the rest of the tomato sauce, chopped parsley and about 250 ml of water. This composition is poured over, cover the dish with a lid or foil and cook it in the oven at moderate heat for about one hour. In the last half hour remove the foil or the lid and leave it in the oven until becomes brown.
Serve it warm with pickles or salads seasoned with lemon. It can be also served cold when it is used a very lean meat, especially poultry meat.
Enjoy your meal!