Moussaka is a fun word to say. It’s also a delicious dinner to eat. Imagine a Greek-style lasagna with eggplant instead of noodles and different spices. The eggplant may have been sliced a little too thin because when we ate it, it felt as if we were forking a delicious mush of food into our mouths; all the flavors were distinct — you could taste the eggplant, the seasoned lamb and the cheese sauce on top, but it didn’t hold up very well. We used some naan bread to assist in the consumption process which worked well. So besides thicker eggplant slices, I wouldn’t change a thing!
Recipe adapted from the Food Network
2 large eggplant
salt to sprinkle over the slices
olive oil for frying
3-4 T. flour (or gluten free flour)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large or 1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef or lamb
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes (with puree), roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
5 T. unsalted butter
6 T. all-purpose flour
3 cups milk, room temperature
1 1/2 kosher salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
3 T. parmesan
Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease 9×13 baking dish with canola oil
- 1. Slice unpeeled eggplants lengthwise, 2/3 in. thick. Lay out on baking sheet, salt and let drain for thirty minutes while you prepare the sauces.
- 2. Dry eggplant and shake in a bag with flour and a good pinch of black pepper.
- 3. Brown in a bit of hot olive oil. Be careful with the amount of oil, and use only enough to brown a few slices at a time. The eggplant absorbs an amazing amount of oil and things can become very greasy. Drain the eggplant and reserve on a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside until ready to assemble.
- 1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- 2. Add the beef, oregano, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon and cook until there is no more pink. (If you’re using lamb, you might want to drain the fat once the meat is done cooking and then return the meat back to the skillet.)
- 3. Add the tomato and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cover, and cook until the sauce is thickened and fragrant, about 20 minutes.
the cream sauce
- 1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- 2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk, salt, and nutmeg. Return to the heat and while whisking constantly, bring to a boil. Simmer 2 minutes.
- 3. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir to cool. When the sauce is cool, whisk in the egg and yolks.
- 1. Scatter the breadcrumbs over the bottom of the pan.
- 2. Lay half of the eggplant in the pan, overlapping the slices if needed. Cover with half of the meat sauce and smooth with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining eggplant and meat sauce.
- 3. Pour the custard sauce over the layered mixture and smooth with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with the parmesan and bake, uncovered, until lightly browned and the custard is set, about 1 hour.
Voila! Serve with naan and hummus and enjoy!