Leftover lamb moussaka is a great way to put a new spin on your leftover lamb roast! Tender eggplant and a hearty meat sauce, all layered up and topped with rich, creamy bechamel sauce, then baked until golden brown. Move aside Italian comfort food, it’s time for Greek comfort food!
One thing I love to do is come up with interesting recipes for leftover roasts. While I’m often perfectly happy to simply reheat dinner for the next day’s lunch, sometimes I want a panini, like my Turkey, Brie and Cranberry Mustard Panini or my Cheddar, Apple and Roast Beef Panini. Other times I want some croquettes – like my Leftover Turkey and Stuffing Croquettes.
Last year at this time I made some Leftover Lamb Gyros for a quick take on leftovers. Make a tzatziki sauce, slice a few vegetables and you’re all good and ready to eat!
This year, I decided to take the leftovers from my Slow Cooked Lamb Leg and keep the theme going for a low and slow leftover lamb moussaka, using the lamb meat to make a great and hearty meat sauce for the casserole.
While I usually use fresh lamb for moussaka, the leftover lamb worked beautifully and had the added benefit of having the fat already cooked out of it! Not that moussaka is a low-fat, lean sort of dish, but use some low-fat milk in the bechamel (saving your fat for the yummy egg yolks) and add precooked lamb to the sauce and it does get a titch less indulgent without losing any of its comfort food properties.
One other great thing about this recipe (other than how tasty it is!), is that you can do all the prep work ahead of time. If you are planning to serve this to a crowd, you can make the eggplant, the sauce, and the bechamel the day before and then simply assemble and bake the day you are serving.
Make a great Chopped Greek Salad, pour some red wine, and sit back to enjoy your leftovers in a whole new dish.
– Happy Greek Comfort Food, Annemarie
- 3 lb eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1-2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large white onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb cooked lamb, finely diced
- 1 14-oz can whole tomatoes, pureed
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano, or 1 tbsp fresh
- pinch cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 3 cups low fat milk, 1% or 2%
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Toss the sliced eggplant with salt and let it sit for 1 hour in a colander.
Preheat oven to 450F. Give the eggplant a quick rinse, then blot it dry and toss with the olive oil. Spread out the eggplant in a single layer on greased baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the eggplant over and bake for 10 more minutes. The eggplant will be wilted and lightly browned.
While the eggplant is salting, make the meat sauce. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 7-10 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add all the rest of the meat sauce ingredients - lamb, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, salt, pepper, brandy, and wine. Taste the sauce and see if you want anymore spices and add a dash or two accordingly.
Bring the meat sauce to a simmer and cook it down until the sauce fairly dry and not soupy. This will take about 20 minutes.
Next, make the bechamel. You will need 3 cups of bechamel.
Heat the milk until steaming in a medium saucepan. In another medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Let the flour cook for 1 minute. Add the steaming milk and whisk constantly as you bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until quite thick and smooth.
Take the sauce off the heat and, while whisking constantly, ladle some of the sauce into the bowl with the egg yolks. Add about 1 cup of the hot bechamel to the eggs. Then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Add the salt, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese to the sauce and stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish, or similar size.
Layer 1/3 of the eggplant, then 1/3 of the meat sauce, then 2 tbsp of the parmesan cheese in the casserole dish. Make two more layers of 1/3, 1/3 and 2 tbsp. Ladle the bechamel sauce over into an even coating on the top. Sprinkle over any remaining cheese. Bake the moussaka for 1 hour. Let the moussaka cool for 10-15 minutes, then cut and serve.
- While I developed this recipe to use up leftover lamb roast, you can switch to ground lamb. Add the ground lamb once the onions are soft but before you add the rest of the ingredients and cook it until it's no longer pink. You may want to drain off the fat at this point since ground lamb tends to be rather fatty.
- I would recommend salting the eggplants even if you are using small ones which aren't bitter. The salting removes much of the water in the eggplants. This is important in a casserole!
- If you want your moussaka to be very dry and not have any liquid in the bottom, add a layer of dry breadcrumbs to the bottom before you start layering.
- While I call for parmesan (since it is widely available in the US), the analogous Greek cheese is kefalotiri. If you can find kefalotiri, definitely use it. It will add that extra Greek flavor to the moussaka.
- The moussaka can be partially made ahead. Make all the layers and then refrigerate them separately overnight. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven and layer everything up in the casserole dish.
- You'll need at least 3/4 pound of the leftover lamb. 1 pound makes for a substantial meat sauce, but 3/4 works fine as well.