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Moussaka

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September 6, 2010 by Sara Kreidler

Toby made this for dinner this week and it was great. We picked up some really nice eggplants and local beef at the farmer’s market, and we were swimming in fresh tomatoes from the CSA. It was so good I forgot to take a picture until we had already eaten a big piece out of the pan (hence the odd framing of the picture).

Similar to making lasagna, moussaka requires you to make two different kinds of sauce, and to assemble the dish in layers.  I have broken the ingredients into 3 groups: layers, red sauce, and white sauce ingredients.

Adapted from Lebanese Recipes

Ingredients

For the layers

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

For the red sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes, or 5 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed Lebanese spices (equal parts allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, fenugreek, and ginger)
  • Salt and pepper

For the white sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 pinch of mixed Lebanese spices (see red sauce ingredients above for spice mix)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add vegetable oil to a deep, cast iron pan and heat over medium high heat.  Deep fry the eggplant in small batches.  Using tongs, transfer the fried pieces to a plate covered with paper towels to absorb the extra oil.
  3. Discard the remaining fry oil.  Add olive oil to the pan and heat over medium high.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent.  Add the ground meat and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, water, mixed spices, salt and pepper and bring sauce to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While the red sauce is simmering, prepare the white sauce by heating the oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the milk gradually, whisking constantly. Add the spices, salt and pepper and bring sauce to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Assemble moussaka in layers.  First, ladle the red sauce into a 13 x 9 pyrex baking dish, starting with red sauce.  Next, make a layer of fried eggplant on top of the red sauce.  Top the eggplant layer with a layer of white sauce.  Continue making layers (red sauce, eggplant, white sauce) until the pan is nearly full; the top layer should be eggplant.  Sprinkle the top layer of eggplant with the grated mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
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