Mousaka is perhaps most well known to Americans as a Greek dish, but my co-worker Anna assures me that it actually originated in Bulgaria – and who am I to argue? I had no idea that there are so many different versions of mousaka. Usually they involve some combination of meat plus potato and/or eggplant, with a top layer of custard or bechamel sauce. Some types of mousaka also include tomatoes, and I even saw one that used rice. The version that we made consisted of ground beef, potatoes and zucchini, covered with a fluffy egg custard. Anna indicated that the dish traditionally would not have included zucchini and would probably have had a higher meat to potato ratio – but it was delicious this way and can probably be easily adjusted depending on what you have in your pantry.
2 onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chubritsa (a special herb, see below for substitutions)
2 lbs. ground beef (or beef/pork mixture)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 c. flour
3 c. yogurt
With an electric mixer, beat eggs and salt together for about 4 minutes, until light and fluffy and a pale yellow color. Mix in cumin, black pepper, and flour and mix well. Fold in 3 c. yogurt by hand until just mixed. Pour over the top of the baked meat and potatoes.
Bake for another 30 minutes or so, until nicely browned on top. Let cool for 10-15 minutes (if you can stand to wait, we couldn’t!). Slice and serve with yogurt on the side.