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Roasted Eggplant Moussaka

December 17, 2013

This is a Greek version of comfort food: roasted eggplant, potatoes, ground lamb and a cheesy bechamel sauce all baked together until they are perfectly cooked. It takes a little bit of time to put together, but it also makes your house smell delicious.

You will need:

  • 3 regular sized eggplants
  • 7 T olive oil, divided
  • 3 medium red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced into a paste
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 4 T flour
  • 2 c milk
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 c grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten

20131109 Moussaka 01

Then you will…

  1. Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Put the eggplant in a colander and toss with a liberal amount of salt. Allow to sit for 20 minutes; this will draw out the bitter liquid in the eggplant. Rinse well and pat dry.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and fry in the skillet about 2-3 minutes per side. They should be golden and just starting to soften. Work in batches, and place the finished potatoes on a paper-towel lined plate.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with sides with parchment paper. Arrange the eggplant on the paper in a single layer.
  4. Drizzle the eggplant with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with pepper. Roast 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add the lamb and cook until just starting to brown; drain any excess fat, if any.
  7. Stir in the sugar, oregano, cinnamon and tomato paste.
  8. Add the white wine and mix well.
  9. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices and allow to simmer about 15 minutes, partially covered.
  10. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour.
  11. Slowly whisk in the milk until well combined and smooth.
  12. Keep whisking until the milk comes to a boil and thickens. Whisk in the nutmeg and salt and pepper (to taste).
  13. Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese until it is melted and smooth.
  14. Put the egg in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in some of the hot cheese sauce to temper the egg and avoid scrambling it. A few tablespoons should do the trick.
  15. Slowly whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the cheese sauce until well combined and silky smooth.
  16. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  17. Line the bottom with about half of the roasted eggplant. Top that with half of the lamb sauce, and then add the potatoes as the next layer.
  18. Top with the remaining lamb sauce and then the last of the eggplant.
  19. Pour the bechamel sauce over the whole dish.
  20. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or so. The top should be bubbly and golden.

20131109 Moussaka 02

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