Saturday, May 16, 2009


3-4 large eggplants
2-3 large potatoes (enough for one layer in 9x13 pan)
1-1/2 lb. ground meat (lamb, hamburger, your choice)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tomatoes chopped
[or I suppose you could use 1 can diced tomatoes to replace sauce and chopped tomatoes]
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk, warmed slightly
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1-1/2 cups parmesan, shredded

Peel and slice eggplants 1/3" thick, lay on paper towels (10 minutes each side) to eliminate bitterness. [This is an important step, don't skip it!]
Peel and slice potatoes 1/4" thick, place in one layer on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in 350° oven for 20 minutes, turning slices halfway through. For those who are mathematically challenged, that is 10 minutes each side. The potatoes provide a firm foundation for the dish so that when you're serving it, it doesn't fall apart -- a good thing with any casserole.
Then bake eggplant slices in the same manner (10 minutes each side on greased cookie sheet at 350°).
Meanwhile fry ground meat and onion until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic and stir for a minute, then add sauce, tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon and salt. Cook on medium heat until liquid has evaporated.
To make the bechamel sauce, melt butter in saucepan, add flour and stir to form a roux. Stir over low heat for 3-5 minutes (you don't want this to start turning brown). Add warmed milk, increase heat to medium and stir until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool 15 minutes or so (this cooling time is necessary because you don't want the eggs to start cooking when you add them). Add beaten eggs to cream sauce along with salt...voila! you have bechemal sauce.

To assemble moussaka in 9"x13" pan:
spray with oil
one layer of potatoes on bottom
one layer of eggplant, lightly salt and pepper
1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan sprinkled over all
meat mixture, spread evenly
final layer of eggplant, lightly salt and pepper
1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan sprinkled over all
bechemal sauce spread evenly so it completely covers everything
sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup parmesan on top

Bake at 350° for one hour. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Slice and serve to a grateful group of diners, be it family or friends.

Yes it is a lot of work. Yes it is worth it!

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