• February 19, 2015

    Shortcut Moussaka Shepherd’s Pie

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    Hello. I just smashed together two of my favourite comfort food meals into something revolutionary – Moussaka Shepherd’s Pie.

    I adore classic Greek moussaka, but making it is tedious task – peeling, slicing potatoes; making béchamel sauce AND meat sauce; broiling eggplant and zucchini; making pretty layers in a baking dish… it’s worth the effort and dishes sometimes. But definitely not on a weeknight.

    My creation retains all the delicious elements of the original – rich meat sauce nuanced with cinnamon, creamy potatoes, tender zucchini and eggplant – but it takes a tiny fraction of the time, and only requires two dishes.

    Ground lamb is browned then simmered in a rich tomato-red wine sauce along with zucchini and eggplant. I swapped the traditional sliced potato topping for mashed (I don’t even bother to peel them!) and stirred in butter, milk and parmesan to riff on a white sauce. The fluffy potatoes are piled on top of the meat filling, then the whole thing is baked until the sauce bubbles up seductively around the edges and the potatoes bear a beautiful golden crust.

    SO good. That’s really all I can say.

    Moussaka Shepherd's Pie

    Rich cinnamon-scented meat sauce, creamy potatoes, tender zucchini and eggplant - all the comforting deliciousness of moussaka, in a quick shepherd's pie.
    Prep Time: 40 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
    Course: Dinner
    Cuisine: Greek
    Servings: 8
    Author: Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD


    • 6 medium red potatoes quartered
    • 2 cups milk
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
    • coarse salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 lb ground lamb
    • 1 large onion finely chopped
    • 5 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 medium zucchini chopped in 1" pieces
    • 1 medium eggplant chopped in 1" pieces
    • 1 156 mL can tomato paste
    • 3/4 cup red wine
    • 2 tsp coarse salt
    • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley


    • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender; mash with butter, milk and parmesan; season to taste with salt and pepper.
    • White the potatoes are boiling, heat olive oil to shimmering hot in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add lamb and break up with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring only once or twice, until browned (it doesn't have to be cooked through). Use a slotted spoon to transfer lamb to a plate.
    • Add onion to dutch oven (along with another splash of oil if needed) and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, zucchini and eggplant and cook until the zucchini is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Return lamb to dutch oven along with any juices that accumulated on the plate. Stir in cinnamon, 2 tsp coarse salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Add red wine and bring to a rapid simmer. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning.
    • Remove dutch oven from heat and top meat mixture with the mashed potatoes. Transfer to the oven and bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling up around the edges, about 30 minutes.
    Tried this recipe?tag @foodess
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    Hi, I'm Jennifer Pallian, BSc, RD. I studied cooking, baking and food chemistry in a university lab, have years of experience as a professional test kitchen recipe developer and providing technical baking support to bakeries and home bakers. Want to know why your bread didn't rise? I've got your back.I now work full-time as a blogger, putting the years of science and baking to work right here. On Foodess, I share the best recipes in my arsenal - tested-till-PERFECT recipes for cozy baking, easy recipes for weeknight meals and delicious globally-inspired comfort food, plus lots of science-based cooking and baking tips. Welcome!

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