One of the great things about deciding to start up this blog is that it encourages me, personally, to learn about other countries. I am very much a typical American when it comes to geography and general world knowledge (in that I possess very little). It’s a fact that I have been working on remedying in my adult life. When I was telling my boyfriend that I was making moussaka from Macedonia for dinner one night, he told me a little bit about the dispute over the country’s name, which sent me down a rabbit hole of research. Now I’m just a little bit smarter.

Everything you need to make moussaka

For those who don’t know, Macedonia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, it had a dispute with Greece over its name (Macedonia can also refer to the northern area of Greece), and it is officially referred to as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by the UN, NATO and EU.

My friend Lulu chops onions for mousakka

Moussaka is very simple, but also extremely satisfying. My friend Lulu and I had spent the day running a 5k with our local running club and decided to finish off the day cooking. She helped me chop and also provided laughter, good times and photography while we cooked.

Stirring up meat and onions

Like the pilaf-esque rice dishes I have made before on this blog, moussaka has a number of varieties. Some use eggplant. This one uses meat and potatoes, with milk and egg to provide moisture.

Lulu smooths out the meat layer in the baking dish

This is almost a one-pot dish; it can at least easily be characterized as two-dish — the dish to brown the meat and the dish to bake it up. Either way, it’s easy clean up.

Browned and finished

This was the perfect dish to refuel after our run. I can’t really disclose how much Lulu and I ate… but this recipe should feed four to six!

Ready to take a bite out of my plate of moussaka

It probably isn’t traditional, but Lulu and I squirted a little bit of jalapeno ketchup onto our plates. It added just a little more umph to the flavor of it. Try out this simple dish next time you need a good, filling meal!