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Classic moussaka – Georgina Hayden, Taverna




Prep 30 minutes
Cook 1h30



700 g potatoes, peeled and sliced into 0.5cm rounds
3 aubergines, sliced into 0.5cm rounds
2 courgettes, trimmed and finely sliced
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


500 g mince of your choice
200 ml red wine
400 ml passata
3 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon

White sauce

1.25 l milk
100 g unsalted butter
125 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
80g kefalotyri cheese or pecorino
Nutmeg, for grating
3 eggs



Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

Lay the potatoes and aubergines out on a couple of baking or roasting trays and brush with olive oil. Season and roast in the oven for 35-40 mins, until golden. Remove and set aside.

Keep the courgettes to one side, they don’t need to be baked beforehand.



Meanwhile, pour a couple of tbsp of olive oil into a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Sauté the onions and garlic for 10 mins, until starting to soften. Add the ground cinnamon, oregano and all the mince. Break everything up with a wooden spoon and turn the heat up a little. Fry until any liquid evaporates and it starts to turn slightly brown.

Stir in the purée, then add the wine and bring to the boil. Leave to rapidly simmer for 5 mins, until the wine has reduced by more than half, then stir in the passata, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Season generously, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes, until thickened and reduced.


White sauce

In a small pan, heat the milk.

In a large saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour and baking powder. Once they have made a paste, slowly start to whisk in the warmed milk, until you have a smooth white sauce. Leave it to thicken over a low heat until it coats the back of a spoon. Grate in half the cheese and a generous amount of nutmeg. Season to taste.



When the meat and white sauces are ready, layer up the moussaka.

You’ll need a large roasting tray, about 25cm*30cm in size. Layer a third of the baked veg and courgettes in the base of the tray and spoon over half of the mince. Repeat with half the remaining veg, the rest of the mince and then the last of the vegetables.

Whisk the eggs into the white sauce and pour over the moussaka.

Grate over the remaining cheese and place the dish in the oven.

Bake for 45 mins, or until the top is golden and bubbling and everything is cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 15 mins before serving, if not longer.

Recipe from Taverna, Recipes from a Cypriot Kitchen
by Georgina Hayden
£25, Penguin Square Peg