Friday, October 7, 2011


Its been a long time since I've actually cooked anything of interest.  Our garden is finally beginning to get going, now that the end of growing season is approaching.  Our eggplant is finally starting to produce a few eggplants.  This has been a horrible year for our garden.  So, since I got a few eggplants I decided to try making Moussaka.  Moussaka for those of you not familiar with it is a Greek dish of eggplant layered with a meat sauce, potatoes and bechamel  sauce.  It takes a while to get everything ready to assemble but it is well worth the effort. This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.
a few of my home grown eggplant

eggplant, onion, garlic, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick, tomatoes, ground lamb, red wine

12-14 servings
3lbs eggplant, 2 large or 3 medium
2 large russet potatoes ( I found I only needed one large)
salt to taste
olive oil
2c diced onion
11/4 lb ground lamb
2C plumb tomatoes chopped (canned is fine)
2tsp minced garlic
2 whole cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon or 1/4tsp ground
1 bay leaf
pinch allspice
1/2 C water
2Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 C dry red wine
1/4 C plain bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste.

Peel (optional) and slice eggplant about 1/2 inch thick. Put slices of eggplant into a colander and generously salt and let sit about 25 min. to leach out any bitterness.  Rinse and dry.  Set aside.

Place the potatoes into a pot of water to cover and boil for about 15 min or until just done.  Cool and slice into 1/8" slices.  Set aside.
Meat sauce:
heat 1Tbsp olive oil in a skillet.  Add the onions and cook until tender, add the ground lamb and cook over medium heat until cooked though stirring frequently.  Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, cloves,cinnamon,bay leaf, allspice, salt and pepper(to taste), 1/2 C water.  Simmer until thickened about 30 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and red wine and continue simmering for another 15-20 minutes until thickened.  Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.  Set aside.

In a frying pan heat 2 Tbs. olive oil until oil shimmers.  Add the eggplant a few slices at a time and saute turning as necessary until the eggplant is tender ( it will start to look opaque and loose it's sponginess). Transfer to a rack or paper towel lined sheet pan.  Repeat with all the slices of eggplant adding more oil as needed.

1 C butter (2 sticks)
1 C flour
4 C milk, warmed
8 egg yolks lightly beaten
pinch ground nutmeg
1/3C grated Parmesan cheese
Melt butter in a large sauce pan, when butter is melted whisk in the flour stirring constantly to form a smooth rue. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to form a smooth sauce.  Temper the egg yolks (add some of the sauce, about 1 C to the egg yolk while stirring constantly so as not to scramble the yolks) add the egg yolk mixture to the sauce, stirring constantly until a smooth thick sauce is formed.  Add the cheese and nutmeg. Stir to a smooth consistency.  Set aside.

preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large rectangular baking pan sprinkle the bread crumbs over the bottom of the pan.  Layer half of the eggplant slices over the bread crumbs.  Add the meat sauce and spread evenly over the eggplant.  Layer the potato slices over the meat sauce ( I seasoned the potatoes with salt and pepper). Layer the rest of the eggplant over the potatoes.  Pour the Bechamel sauce (you may not need all of it) over the eggplant.  Bake uncovered until the cheese sauce is thick and nicely browned and the eggplant and potatoes are tender, about 45minutes to an hour.  Let the moussaka rest for about 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

eggplant with the Bechamel sauce poured over

Moussaka baked to perfection



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