Moussaka with Chicken: A Tasty and Different Type of Moussaka

Meat Dishes

moussaka with chicken
Share this post

Moussaka with chicken is a delicious and healthier alternative to this traditional Mediterranean dish that has been enjoyed for generations. Traditional moussaka is typically made with layers of eggplant, minced meat, and a creamy béchamel sauce. However, this recipe puts a twist on the classic by using chicken instead of beef or lamb.

To make this dish, you will need a few key ingredients. These include eggplant, onion, mixed spice, tomatoes, shredded roast chicken, parsley, Greek yogurt, and reduced-fat pizza cheese.

What Is Moussaka?

Moussaka is an old-school dish from the Mediterranean. It’s like a baked casserole with layers of eggplant, meat, and potatoes, all covered in a creamy sauce. However, in this variation, chicken is used instead of ground beef or lamb.

Origins of Moussaka

The exact origin of moussaka is not clear, but it is believed to have originated in the Ottoman Empire, which included Greece and other surrounding countries. The dish was likely influenced by the Middle Eastern dish, musakhkhan, which is a baked dish made with bread, chicken, and onions.

Over time, moussaka became a popular dish in Greece and other countries in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is now considered a staple dish in Greek cuisine and is enjoyed by many people around the world.

Moussaka Variations

While the traditional moussaka recipe includes eggplant, potatoes, and ground beef or lamb, there are many variations of the dish. Some variations include using zucchini or other vegetables instead of eggplant or using different types of meat such as chicken or pork.

In this particular recipe, chicken is used instead of ground beef or lamb, which adds a unique flavor to the dish. The chicken is cooked with onions, garlic, and a blend of spices, and then layered with sliced potatoes and eggplant. The dish is then topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and baked until golden brown.

Why Chicken?

Health Benefits

Chicken is a lean source of protein that is low in fat and high in nutrients. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, which helps to support a healthy immune system and regulate blood sugar levels. Chicken is also a good source of niacin, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

When compared to beef or lamb, chicken is a healthier choice for those who are looking to reduce their intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. By using chicken in moussaka, you can enjoy all of the flavors of the dish without the added health risks associated with red meat.

Flavor Profile

In addition to the health benefits, chicken can also bring a unique flavor profile to moussaka. Chicken has a milder taste than lamb or beef, which can allow the other flavors in the dish to shine through. It also has a tender texture that can complement the creaminess of the béchamel sauce.

When preparing chicken for moussaka, it is important to season it well with herbs and spices to enhance its flavor. Some popular options include oregano, thyme, and garlic. By using chicken in moussaka, you can create a dish that is both healthy and flavorful.

eggplant, fruit, vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggplants, sliced into 1cm-thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 large brown onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 14 oz of canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of skinless shredded roast chicken
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup of reduced-fat pizza cheese

How to Make Moussaka with Chicken?

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Fahrenheit for fan-assisted ovens). Grease a square baking dish with sufficient capacity (approximately 7 cups) to a depth of at least 6 centimeters.

Eggplant Treatment

  1. Put the eggplant slices on a suitable tray. Evenly disperse salt over the eggplant slices and allow them to rest for fifteen minutes. This step serves the purpose of extracting excess moisture from the eggplant. Subsequently, rinse the eggplant thoroughly under cold running water and utilize paper towels to pat them dry.

Frying the Eggplant

  1. Employ medium-high heat to bring a frying pan to the desired temperature. Utilize a sprayer or other suitable method to coat both sides of the eggplant slices with oil. Fry the eggplant slices in batches, ensuring each batch receives three to four minutes of cooking time per side. The ideal outcome is for the eggplant slices to achieve a golden brown coloration. Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to a plate for temporary storage.

Assembly and Baking

  1. Distribute half of the cooked eggplant slices within the pre-greased baking dish. Layer the chicken mixture evenly over the eggplant slices. Subsequently, add the remaining eggplant slices to form the final layer. Generously spread yogurt over the topmost eggplant layer and sprinkle an ample amount of cheese over the yogurt. Bake the moussaka in the preheated oven for twenty minutes, or until the top acquires a golden brown appearance. Before cutting and serving, permit the baked moussaka to rest for five minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Accompaniments

This moussaka is a flavorful and hearty dish that can be served with a variety of accompaniments. For a complete meal, consider serving it with a side of rice or a fresh salad. The rice can be plain or flavored with herbs and spices to complement the flavors in the moussaka. A simple salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers dressed with a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich and savory moussaka.

If you’re looking for something more substantial, consider serving the moussaka with a side of roasted vegetables. Roasted eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers are all great choices that will complement the flavors of the dish. You can also serve it with a side of garlic bread or pita bread to soak up all the delicious sauce.

Presentation Tips

This is a beautiful dish that can be presented in a variety of ways. To make it look more elegant, consider serving it in individual ramekins or small baking dishes. You can also garnish each serving with a sprig of fresh parsley or a sprinkle of paprika to add a pop of color.

Another presentation option is to serve the moussaka family-style in a large baking dish. This is a great option for casual gatherings or potluck dinners. To make it more visually appealing, you can sprinkle some feta cheese or chopped herbs on top before serving.

No matter how you choose to present it, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. With its rich and comforting flavors, it’s the perfect dish for any occasion.

Storage and Reheating

Refrigeration

After cooking a delicious moussaka, it is important to store it properly to maintain its freshness. To refrigerate the dish, allow it to cool down to room temperature. Then, cover it with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Freezing

If you have leftovers or want to prepare a batch in advance, you can freeze it for later use. To freeze, let the dish cool down to room temperature and then transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Make sure to label the container with the date of preparation and the contents. The moussaka can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

Reheating Instructions

To reheat the moussaka, preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap or lid from the container and place it in the oven. If the dish is frozen, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through. Make sure to check the temperature before serving to ensure that it is fully heated.

Recipe Variations

Vegetarian Alternatives

For those who prefer a vegetarian option, the chicken can be substituted with tofu or eggplant. Simply slice the tofu or eggplant into thin pieces and layer them in the same way as the chicken. This will give the dish a similar texture and flavor.

Another vegetarian alternative is to use a combination of vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms. These vegetables can be sautéed and layered in the same way as the chicken.

Spice Adjustments

The spices used in this recipe can be adjusted to suit individual tastes. For those who prefer a milder flavor, the amount of cayenne pepper can be reduced. On the other hand, for those who like it spicy, the amount of cayenne pepper can be increased.

Other spices such as cumin, coriander, and paprika can also be added to give the dish a more complex flavor. Experimenting with different spice combinations can lead to delicious results.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Using the Wrong Type of Chicken

One of the biggest mistakes people make when making this dish is using the wrong type of chicken. It’s important to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs that have been cut into small pieces. Using chicken with bones or skin can make the dish too greasy and difficult to eat.

Not Draining the Eggplant

Another mistake people make is not draining the eggplant before using it in the dish. Eggplant has a lot of water in it, and if it’s not drained properly, it can make the moussaka too watery. To avoid this, slice the eggplant and sprinkle it with salt. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then rinse it off and pat it dry.

Conclusion

In conclusion, moussaka with chicken is a delicious and hearty dish that is perfect for any occasion. The combination of tender chicken, creamy béchamel sauce, and flavorful eggplant creates a unique and satisfying flavor profile that is sure to please any palate.

One of the best things about it is its versatility. It can be served as a main dish or as a side dish, and it pairs well with a variety of other foods. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or an impressive dish to serve at a dinner party, this is a great choice.

Overall, moussaka with chicken is a dish that is sure to impress. Its rich flavor and satisfying texture make it a favorite among food lovers everywhere. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook, this dish is easy to make and always delicious. So why not give it a try and see for yourself?

As already mentioned, green salad pairs perfectly with moussaka.
Get this recipe now (by clicking the image below):
Lebanese Green Bean Salad


Share this post
Go back to Meat Dishes

Related posts: