Bulgarian Potato and Meat Moussaka (No Eggplant)
The Bulgarian potato and meat moussaka is a recipe I prepare often for dinner. This is one of the most popular Bulgarian dishes. It is very different form the Greek moussaka. For this recipe you don’t need an eggplant. It is made from ground meat, cubed potatoes and a creamy topping. The topping is the trickiest and most delicious part of this recipe. To prepare it you are going to need eggs, flour and yogurt. If it is done right it is so fluffy and light. Just follow my step by step instructions and you will be amazed of the end result.
Today I’m sharing my mother’s moussaka recipe, but slightly upgraded. My mom couldn’t make the topping so airy and delicious. That was one of her biggest struggles. She always tried new recipes for the topping, and they never turned out the way she expected. After many years of practice, I was able to create a recipe for the topping that never fails. You are lucky because I’m going to share it with you.
How to make the topping?
Add ¼ cup of oil in a deep pot. As soon as the oil is hot add 1/3 cup of flour and start stirring. The flour needs to cook for a little bit before you add the yogurt. No need to brown it. Then add the yogurt and stir until combined. Remove the pot from the heat. Then add the egg yolks to the flour and yogurt mixture. Make sure that the mixture is not too hot or it will scramble them.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites on high with a pinch of salt. That is going to create the perfect stiff peaks.
Gently add the egg whites to the yogurt, flour and egg yolk mixture. Fold them in until they are incorporated.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the topping over the meat and potatoes reduce the oven temperature from 380F to 350F. Then return in the oven. The topping needs to cook on lower temperature for 30 minutes.
For this recipe I usually use russet or gold potatoes. Wash peel and cut them to half an inch cubes.
You can use any ground meat for this recipe. The original recipe is with a mixture of ground beef and pork.
Summer savory is the most popular Bulgarian spice. We put it in and on everything. You can find it dry in most grocery stores. If you can’t find it, substitute it with dry oregano.
Cook the chopped onions with the ground meat for a few minutes before you combine it with the potatoes. This helps separating the meat to smaller chunks and adds extra flavor to the dish.
For this recipe I recommend using whole plain, Greek or Bulgarian yogurt. Don’t use low fat yogurt if you want to achieve the original taste.
I recommend using eggs and yogurt at room temperature for this recipe.
The easiest way to separate egg yolks from egg whites is to use the palms of your hands. Just put your closed palm over a bowl. Crack one egg in the closed palm and slowly open your fingers until the egg white runs through them. Transfer the egg yolk in a separate bowl. Once you done separating the eggs wash your hands thoroughly.
I like to eat and serve the Bulgarian potato and meat moussaka with a tablespoon of yogurt on top. But that is totally optional.
Serve it warm. Store leftovers in the refrigerator no longer than 4-5 days.
Bulgarian Potato and Meat Moussaka
- 2 pounds russet potatoes or gold potatoes
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil I use sunflower oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onions one small onion
- 1 pound ground pork I use a mix of 60% beef and 40%pork
- 1 Tbsp ground Summer savory
- 1 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
- ¼ cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
For the topping
- 6 large eggs separated
- 3 cups Whole Greek, Bulgarian or Plain yogurt
- ¼ cup cooking oil I use sunflower oil
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash peel and cut potatoes to 1/2 inch cubes. Put them in an oven safe baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 380F
- Chop the onion finely. Add a tablespoon of oil in a pan and preheat to medium. Once the oil is hot add the chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes. Onions have to be slightly softer and translucent.
- Then add the ground meat and break it into smaller chunks. Add the paprika , summer savory and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
- Transfer the cooked meat into the baking dish with the potatoes. Pour 1/4 cup of water in and stir well. Insert into the hot oven and start a timer for 30 minutes.
To make the topping
- When the timer has 15 minutes left. Open the oven and give the potatoes and meat a stir. Then separate the egg whites from the egg yolks in two separate bowls.
- In a deep pot add 1/4 cup of oil and preheat it to medium. Add the flour and whisk until there are no lumps left and the mixture is slightly thicker.
- Add 3 cups of yogurt to the oil and flour mixture and stir constantly. Once the yogurt is incorporated remove the pot from the heat.
- Allow the mixture to slightly cool off and add the egg yolks to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a deep mixing bowl add the egg whites with a pinch of salt and beat until you have stiff peaks.
- Add the egg whites to the yogurt, flour and egg yolk mixture and fold them in gently. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
- Once you are done with the topping mixture there should be no more time left on your timer. Use oven mitts to remove the meat and potato mixture from the oven. Stir and check it for seasoning. Add more salt if needed.
- Pour the topping mixture on top of the baking dish. Cover all the edges of the baking dish.
- Return in the oven and reduce the temperature to 350F. Bake for additional 30 minutes or until the topping is set and golden brown. Serve warm with some yogurt on top (optional).