Autumn means it is time to start using the slow cooker more often again (even though I’ve naturally been baking in mine over the summer anyway), so today I am sharing my recipe for Slow Cooker Moussaka, which is a great family meal option, made with lamb and aubergines.
What is moussaka
Moussaka is a Greek dish made with lamb or beef mince (ground lamb or beef) in a rich tomato sauce spiced with cinnamon, layered with aubergine (eggplant) and a thick layer of béchamel sauce.
Traditionally it is made with lamb but you can also switch the lamb for beef if you can’t get lamb easily.
Often moussaka also includes a layer of potatoes.
Now, potatoes can be tricky to cook in the slow cooker so I omit them from my recipe.
It is good too to leave the potatoes out if you are trying to cut down on carbs!
Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe. You’ll find the precise quantities in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- fresh aubergines (eggplant) – one of the key ingredients in moussaka.
- minced lamb (ground lamb) – alternatively you could replace the lamb with beef mince (ground beef) if you like.
- red onions
- tin of plum tomatoes – whole plum tomatoes add a little bit more body to the sauce. You could replace this with another tin of chopped tomatoes.
- tin of chopped tomatoes – I like to use the Italian finely chopped tomatoes but it doesn’t make much difference if you use the normal kind.
- olive oil – to brush onto the aubergine slices.
- garlic – adds a hit of flavour to the sauce.
- dried oregano – adds flavour to the meat sauce. It has a pungent, aromatic scent and flavour.
- ground cinnamon – this adds the typical Greek flavour to the moussaka.
- half fat creme fraiche – I normally use reduced fat creme fraiche for this recipe. If you prefer you can use the full fat version.
- grated nutmeg – typically used in béchamel sauce to add flavour.
- mature (sharp) cheddar cheese – sprinkled over the top. If you prefer another kind of cheese you can substitute it here.
Step by step
To make moussaka in a slow cooker first roast slices of aubergine (eggplant) in the oven. Brush them with oil and bake for 30 minutes.
Next make up the lamb sauce ingredients. Brown the lamb mince in a large pan until no pink remains. Drain the fat and transfer the mince to a mixing bowl.
Add the red onion, plum and chopped tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to your taste, and mix well.
Lightly oil the base of your slow cooker and layer half of the roast aubergine slices in it.
Pour in the lamb sauce, then top with the remaining aubergine slices.
It looks delicious even before you start cooking it I think!
Pour the creme fraiche into a bowl and use a few splashes of water to loosen it up to a pouring consistency. Season with salt and pepper and grate in a little fresh nutmeg. Stir well.
Pour the sauce on top of the second aubergine layer and spread it evenly with a spoon.
Sprinkle the cheese on top.
Cook on high for an hour or so and then switch to low for a further 6 hours.
My version of slow cooker moussaka is lightened up a little from the traditional dish.
This is because I make the sauce with half fat creme fraiche, sprinkle a lower fat mature cheese on top, and also less olive oil used to cook the aubergines.
These options all reduce the fat content slightly, however you can use the normal versions instead if that is not a concern to you.
You wouldn’t know about these healthy twists from looking at or eating the dish, they are just a few healthy switches to make it a great versatile family meal really.
Just look at the results you get in the slow cooker, such a rich and enticing dish to come home to.
On an autumn evening moussaka is a lovely comforting dish to warm you up at the end of a long day.
The mildly spiced lamb sauce goes down well with my children too, we all love dipping crusty bread in to mop up the last of it on their plates.
It is excellent to find a family dish which is not too difficult to make that the whole family enjoys!
Does the top go crispy in the slow cooker
As you can see, the top of the moussaka even browns up on top during cooking in the slow cooker.
I didn’t even need to use a tea towel under the lid to stop water dripping on top of the dish.
As it browns itself, it means you don’t need to stick the moussaka under the grill and risk your slow cooker pot cracking either. Result!
As you dig in you can see the layers of aubergine, lamb sauce, and then the creamy white sauce on top.
Spoon into your dishes and enjoy with green veg and of course bread on the side to mop up the juices!
Pin my Slow Cooker Moussaka for later!
Slow Cooker Moussaka
For the aubergine layer:
- 2 aubergines sliced
- 2 tsp olive oil
For the lamb sauce:
- 500 g lamb mince I used 20% fat mince
- 2 red onions thinly sliced
- 1 tin plum tomatoes 400 g
- 1 carton chopped tomatoes I used Cirio polpe fine – finely chopped tomatoes, 390 g
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- salt and pepper
For the white sauce:
- 300 ml half fat creme fraiche
- salt and pepper
- grated nutmeg a tiny amount
- 40 g lighter mature cheddar
- Brush the aubergine slices with the olive oil and roast at 180℃ / 350℉ for 30 minutes, turning over half way through the cooking time.2 aubergines, 2 tsp olive oil
- Brown the lamb mince in a large pan until no pink remains.500 g lamb mince
- Drain the fat and transfer the mince to a mixing bowl.
- Add the red onion, plum and chopped tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cinnamon and salt and pepper to your taste, and mix well.2 red onions, 1 tin plum tomatoes, 1 carton chopped tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, salt and pepper
- Lightly oil the base of your slow cooker and layer half of the roast aubergine slices in it.
- Pour in the lamb sauce, then top with the remaining aubergine slices.
- Pour the creme fraiche into a bowl and use a few splashes of water to loosen it up to a pouring consistency. Season with salt and pepper and grate in a little fresh nutmeg. Stir well.300 ml half fat creme fraiche, salt and pepper, grated nutmeg
- Pour the sauce on top of the second aubergine layer and spread it evenly with a spoon.
- Sprinkle the cheese on top.40 g lighter mature cheddar
- Cook on high for an hour or so and then switch to low for a further 6 hours.
Slow Cooked Challenge September 2017
The Slow Cooked Challenge had a nice summer break while we all enjoyed summery salads and lighter foods but now it is back with a new logo! Now that Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen has handed the Slow Cooked Challenge over to me I thought it would be good to give it a fresh look to reflect that.
If you are wondering what the Slow Cooked Challenge is, it is a monthly blog challenge for food bloggers, in which recipes made using a Slow Cooker/Crockpot, or using a Slow Cooker function in an Instant Pot or Multi Cooker, or by slow cooking in the oven or Aga, or any other slow method of cooking you can think of, are welcome! There is no theme for the recipes, you can link up any kind of slow cooked recipe. I look forward to seeing your Slow Cooked dishes!