Moussaka

lamb in greece

On a trip to Greece I couldn’t resist taking this picture of a man delivering lamb to a restaurant across the street.  And, nothing says “Greece” to me more than moussaka which is made with eggplant, ground lamb, and topped with bechamel sauce.  Ground lamb can usually be found in most grocery stores.

This recipe may sound a little complicated.  Start with the mise en place for the eggplant, meat sauce, and cream sauce.  While the eggplant bakes for thirty minutes, make the meat sauce and then the cream sauce.  By the time the eggplant has baked, you can then put the casserole together.

You begin this recipe with:

1 large eggplant

Prepare the eggplant: (make the meat sauce and cream sauce while the eggplant is being salted and baked)

  1. Halve unpeeled plant lengthwise; slice crosswise, ½”thick.
  2. Rinse.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil, spritz with Pam and arrange the eggplant slices on it.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min.

assembling the moussaka

  Ingredients for the Meat Sauce: 

  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 1 cup finely chopped onion
  3. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  4. 1  lb. ground lamb
  5. 1 tablespoons each fresh oregano, basil & parsley, chopped
  6. ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  9. ½ cup red wine
  10. 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

 Ingredients for the cream Sauce: 

  1. 3 tablespoons butter
  2. 4 tablespoons flour
  3. ½ teaspoon each salt & pepper
  4. 2 cups hot milk, almost boiling
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  7. ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Make the Meat Sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat and sauté onion & garlic for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add lamb & cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add herbs, cinnamon,  tomato paste & wine.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until liquid has been absorbed (about 5 minutes).

Make Cream Sauce

  1. In medium saucepan, melt butter.  Remove from heat.  Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add milk gradually stirring until mixture is thickened.  Remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, beat eggs with wire whisk.
  4. Beat in some hot cream-sauce mixture.  Return mixture to saucepan.
  5. Add nutmeg and Parmesan cheese.

Assemble casserole & pre-heat oven to 350 degrees:

  1. Layer the eggplant in bottom of a baking dish – about 8″x12″ is about right.
  2. Stir breadcrumbs into meat sauce.
  3. Spoon the meat sauce over eggplant.
  4. Pour cream sauce over all.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden.  Allow to rest 15 minutes before serving.

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