Forgot the backlog. 🙂
I decided to make this dish because I really like moussaka. I don’t know if its fair to say that I like moussaka, I only had it once, at a Greek restaurant in Apex, NC. But it was damn tasty and I decided I’d try it again myself. I also had all the ingredients already on hand, making it nice and convenient.
I looked up a few recipes and sort of conglommed one together from suggestions from people and the different variations. Most of the people suggested including more spice of some sort and noted that the wine in the sauce was key to keeping it from getting too similar to shepherd’s pie. Many people also suggested cooking it the night before, making final assembly not as stressful and really allowing the flavors to meld. I followed all these suggestions and have to agree – the meat definitely had a great kick to it and was a great complement to the creamy white sauce.
Giving it time to rest was definitely key, as it didn’t fall helter-skelter everywhere when you cut into it. I forgot to squeeze the eggplant dry and the bottom was a little watery but that was only for the first couple pieces. And it was damn tasty. I loved the combination of flavors. Martin loved it. I was about to say that he called it one of his favorites but it seems like almost every post I make, I make this comment. I think its because he is like “Woah! Food!”
Reheated, the food was still pretty good. I didn’t bother keeping it in layers, instead mashing everything together on my plate. Moussaka free for all. Free for tasty! Yum!
I didn’t bother halving the recipe, but I should have, as it makes a ton. Luckily, I invited a very hungry friend over for dinner and between us, we managed to clear a sizable chunk out. I think it would be a great dinner party food – after the meat sauce and a simple bechamel, it spends most of its time in the oven, freeing you to do other important things.
1 lb. lean ground beef
Ground black pepper
2 – 3 cloves garlic
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
Oregano, thyme, basil and tarragon to taste
2 tbsp. dried parsley
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
½ cup red wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
½ cup butter
6 tbsp. AP flour
4 cups hot milk
Ground white pepper
½ tsp. nutmeg
1- Note: Meat mixture can be made a day in advance to allow flavors to meld and make preparation easier.
2- Vegetables: Peel eggplants and slice lengthwise into pieces ½” thick. Sprinkle with salt and let sit on paper towels for 30 minutes, to draw out moisture. Slice potatoes into rounds.
Brush with olive oil on both sides and broil vegetables until browned. Make sure not to overcook, as they will be mushy later.
3- Meat Sauce: Roughly chop onions. Mince garlic cloves.
In skillet, heat olive oil and add ground beef, salt and pepper to taste, onions and garlic cloves. After the beef is browned, spoon off fat and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and parsley. Add oregano, thyme, basil and tarragon to taste.
Pour in tomato sauce and wine and mix well. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until thick enough for lasagna. Allow to cool. You can either refrigerate for up to one day or use immediately.
Béchamel sauce: Scald milk saucepan.
4- Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Lower heat.
5- Gradually add milk, whisking constantly until thick. Season to taste with salt, ground white pepper and nutmeg.
6- As sauce is cooling, separate eggs and beat egg whites until stick. Slowly add egg yolks one at a time to béchamel sauce until blended, then add beaten egg whites and mix until combined.
7- Layer eggplant and potatoes on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Top with meat mixture and sprinkle with ½ cup Parmesan.
8- Pour béchamel sauce on top and sprinkle with nutmeg. Top with up to ½ cup Parmesan.
9- Bake for one hour at 350-degrees. Allow to rest before serving.
Servings: 6 – 8
Preparing the meat
Check out those layers
Look at me! I’m moussaka!