Musaka has Arab origins and it was a recipe adapted in Balkans, through Greek inspiration. Traditionally, this Musaka with potatoes is prepared with lamb or beef but variants with pork or poultry are common. I used a mixture of beef and pork. A potato Musaka involves layers of potato rounds (I boiled them in the shell but some recipes mention about raw potatoes and short fried in hot oil) alternating with layers of minced meat fried with onions and spices.
Both versions of Musaka have a top layer consisting of white sauce (bechamel). In some cases, they can be sprinkled with grated cheese, which makes a great crust in the oven.
500 g boiled potatoes in shell
500 g minced meat (pork, beef or mixture)
3 medium onions
5 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons oil
salt, pepper, dried thyme
400 ml tomato juice
or 500 g fresh tomatoes in summer
optional some chilli flakes (chili)
150 g grated cheese (or other cheese that melts in the oven)
Boil the potatoes in water with a little salt, leave to cool, peel and cut the thin rounds of 0.5 cm.
For the filling, I cleaned and cut the onion slabs and cut the garlic cloves.
I fried the meat along with 2 tablespoons of oil.
I frequently mixed with a spatula to make sure that every piece of minced meat was browned.
I added the onion and garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper. I continued to heat it until the onion became glassy (without burning).
I placed the meat mixture in a bowl.
In another saucepan I put the butter, flour and salt and left them for a few minutes on low heat, stirring continuously, until the butter has melted and the flour has been well incorporated. I gradually switched off the mixture with hot milk. After adding the last cup of milk I brought the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. I let it simmer slowly, at very low heat, for 10 minutes (it will also cook in the oven, so no raw flour remains).
Finally, I added a hand of grated cheese to the white sauce and left it aside. I used 50 g of the 150 g of cheese (the rest remains to be sprinkled on top).
In a large glass I poured the tomato juice and seasoned it with a little salt, chili peppers (optional) and a teaspoon of dried thyme. I have everything at hand now: boiled potatoes in the peel, cut the rounds, the minced meat, white sauce and tomato sauce.
Layering is simple: white sauce, a layer of minced meat, potato rounds, minced meat and again potatoes. The shapes were not greased with anything because there is enough fat in the minced meat and in the white sauce.
I poured the glass with thyme-flavored tomato sauce over these forms.
In the end, I poured the white sauce on top. I sprinkled the shapes with the remaining grated cheese.
I placed the 4 shapes in a tray and put them in the hot oven at 180 C for 25-30 minutes.
Enjoy the potatoes Musaka recipe!