Sunday, January 3, 2010

Moussaka

I first tried moussaka while visiting Greece, and absolutely fell in love with it. While there, I had to buy a greek cookbook for the traditional recipe. Here is the recipe that I have adapted for all to enjoy. It is somewhat time consuming to make, but WELL worth the effort. Moussaka is a hearty main course, no side dishes necessary. Maybe a greem salad if you like.

Ingredients:
2 lb. Italian eggplant
1 lb. potatoes (I use russet)
1 lb. ground beef
14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
2 chopped onions
1 clove garlic
oil for frying vegetables
salt, pepper
grated parmesan cheese

bechamel sauce:
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart whole milk
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, a dash of nutmeg

Wash and slice the eggplant, I slice them about 1/4 inch thick using an electric slicer, but you can of course slice them by hand. Slice the potatoes to about the same thickness. Fry both the sliced eggplant and potatoes in a generous amount of olive oil until nicely golden brown. Set aside.
In a saucepan, saute the onions and garlic until golden, then add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce simmer about 30 minutes.
To assemble the moussaka, grease an approximately 9x13inch baking pan with butter. Layer half the potatoe slices in the bottom of the pan,cover with half the meat mixture, and sprinke with grated parmesan cheese. Layer the remaining potatoes, the eggplant, and the other half of the meat mixture. Then get ready to make the bechamel sauce.
To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. In the meantime, heat the milk until nearly boiling in a separate saucepan. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture, stirring constantly with a wire whisk to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until thick, about 5-10 minutes. Continue to stir almost constantly. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat the two eggs. Gradually add the eggs to the bechamel sauce and mix well. Pour a thick layer of bechamel sauce over the top of the moussaka. Bake the moussaka at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour. Let the moussaka stand at least 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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