Recipe Corner- “Moussaka”

Written by Iris Foss

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Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish. Every family surely has their own version. I prefer the healthy version.

INGREDIENTS:

Meat sauce

2 pounds ground lamb or beef
1 chopped onion
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup of cooking wine
2 Tbsp or more of lemon juice
Pinch of salt to taste

Bechamel sauce

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
3 cups shredded Mozzerella cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

The moussaka

3 large peeled and sliced eggplants
1/2 cup salt
2-3 pealed and sliced potatoes
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Olive oil

Prepare the meat sauce

1 Heat and brown the ground meat. Drain all the grease. Add the onions about halfway into the browning process. Sprinkle salt over the meat and onions.

2 Once the meat is browned and the onions have softened, add the garlic, black pepper, oregano and tomato paste. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

3 Add the red wine and mix well. Bring the sauce to a simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Mix well and taste. Set the sauce aside.

Prepare the potatoes and eggplants

4 Peel and slice the eggplant and the potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds.

5 Boil the potatoes in salted water for 5-8 minutes – you want them undercooked, but no longer crunchy. Drain and set aside.

6 To cook the eggplant, grill or fry the rounds using Olive oil. Transfer into paper towels and set aside.

Prepare the béchamel

7 Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and Mozzerella cheese. W8hisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or casserole dish.

To assemble: Put half the eggplant and potato slices in the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining eggplant and potato slices, and then the remaining meat sauce. Pour the bechamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until browned and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Top with fresh parsley or cilantro, if desired. Let cool for at least 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

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