Moussaka-Style Shepherd's Pie

moussaka style shepherds pie
  • 4Servings


  • 1 medium eggplant (choose one that's firm and heavy, about 1 1/4 lbs.)
  • Salt
  • 5 russet potatoes (about 3 1/2 lbs.), peeled, each cut into 6 cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or marjoram, finely chopped, or 1 tsp. dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • A pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • About 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • About 1/3 cup whole milk
  • About 1/8 tsp. freshly grated or ground nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) grated Gruyere
  • About 1/2 cup (about 2 oz.) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat the broiler.

Peel the skin off two sides of the eggplant and trim off the top. Slice lengthwise into long, thin planks about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, then dice into small pieces. Arrange in a single layer on a kitchen towel; sprinkle with salt.

Place the cubed potatoes in a medium pot and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, salt the water and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high to high. Add the meat and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the oregano, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, allspice and cinnamon; season with salt and pepper. Pat the eggplant dry and add to the skillet along with the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add the wine; stir until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the stock; reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the meat mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return to the hot pot. Add the creme fraiche and milk; mash until smooth. Add the nutmeg and season. Stir in the egg yolk.

Discard the bay leaf from the meat mixture; transfer to a medium casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with the cheeses; broil until browned and bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve from the dish into shallow bowls.