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The “History Greek”

Probably one of my most memorablehigh School teachers was Mr. Chris. Thiswas short for a much longer Greek name, but his preferred name as he said wewould probably never be able to pronounce his whole surname.

Mr. Chris taught High School WorldHistory with all the nuances and secrets that made it real. His depth of knowledge and delivery kept thisgroup of 15 – 16 year-olds attentive. Especially dramatic were his stories of being a political prisoner inGreece -and tieing sheets together to escape out of a tower!

The Chris??? Family immigrated toAustin and became involved. His brotherwas a city councilman and his mother opened a Greek restaurant – Mama Eleni’sAthenian Restaurant on Lavaca street. The first time my family dined there, I discovered Dolmades (stuffedgrape leaves). Absolutely the mostwonderful appetizer I had ever put in my mouth! If someone has a Dolmades recipe that they love – share it and I’ll makeand post it.

I can’t remember if Greek Moussakawas on the menu, but it has been a family favorite of ours for years. It’s a great way to serve a group and a bigpart of preparation can be done a day ahead. Its also a perfect recipe for eggplant – which is actually easy to growin your Texas garden.

Greek Moussaka

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Servings 8


Eggplant and Meat Sauce

  • 2 Large eggplants, peeled and cut in 2"-3" pieces
  • 1 Large onion, diced
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • 2 lbs. Ground beef
  • 6-7 Medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can Tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 glass Red wine
  • 1 pinch Salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Tarragon
  • 1 cup Chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • cups Grated Parmesan

Bechamel Sauce

  • 4 cups Milk
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 6 tbsp Flour
  • Pinch Salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 Egg yolks, beaten


Eggplant and Meat Sauce

  • Peel and cut eggplant. Lay out on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture
  • Place eggplant in roasting pan, sprinkle with olive oil, and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, diced onion, and 2 cloves chopped garlic. Saute for about 3 minutes.
  • Add ground beef to skillet and brown.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, wine, salt and pepper, bay leaf, cinnamon, tarragon, chopped fresh parsley and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Allow to cool and stir in beaten eggs

Bechamel Sauce

  • Scald milk in saucepan (milk has begun to steam and show small bubbles)
  • Melt butter in large skillet, then whisk in flour until smooth
  • Lower heat and slowly add scalded milk, whisking until thickened. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let cool for about 10 minutes and stir in beaten egg yolks.


  • Place eggplant in a greased 9 x 13 dish.
  • Cover with meat mixture
  • Top with 3/4 cup parmesan
  • Pour Bechamel sauce over the top, sprinkle with remaining parmesan, and sprinkle nutmeg.


  • Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees


Traditional Greek Moussaka uses slices of eggplant, but by cutting into smaller pieces, the eggplant spreads easier to each portion.
I have assembled everything except the bechamel sauce a day ahead. About 2 hours before serving - cook the sauce and top the dish with the chopped parsley, sauce, parmesan and nutmeg and bake for one hour. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.