We need to reduce this sauce to almost dry, lightly boiling away the wine and liquids - which all become flavors
If you do each side twice, the eggplant will be nicelt prepared for the oven - and it will look good, if anyone cares besides me...
I absolutely love moussakas wherever I find the dish - Greek, Turkish, Arab, Italian - it's common throughout the Mediterranean region. There are myriad variations, of course - just like bread differs, country to country, dishes made of common ingredients differ. One of my favorite recipes is found in Claudia Roden's 'The New Book of Middle Eastern Food'. With an acknowledging bow to Claudia, I have slightly modified her take on this immensely satisfying and venerable dish - and this is the result. This takes a little time, but is well worth the effort and is equally delicious, hot or cold.
- THE MEAT SAUCE
- 2 large Spanish onions, finely diced
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 2 lbs ground meat (lamb, beef, venison)
- 2 tsp sea salt and 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 large tomatoes, peeled and diced, or 2 -14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes in their juice
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 C red wine
- THE WHITE SAUCE
- 4 Tbs sweet butter
- 4 Tbs flour (I use all purpose or gluten free works great, too)
- 2-1/2 C hot whole milk
- 1 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 2 fresh eggs
- 1/2 C grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese + 1/4 C extra
- THE EGGPLANT
- 1-1/2 to 2lbs fresh, firm, unblemished eggplant (aubergine), unpeeled, cut in 1/2 inch slices
- Olive oil
- MEAT SAUCE
- First, lightly sweat, then caramelize the onions in oil in a large pan. You might as well take your time, using a med-low heat.
- Add the ground meat, mixing and breaking it up, turning it from pink to grey.
- Add the salt, pepper, cinnamon, tomatoes, sugar and red pepper flakes. Combine well.
- Add the red wine.
- Over medium heat, reduce until the meat sauce is almost dry, then add the parsley.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 400^
- THE EGGPLANT
- Brush the slices with olive oil, both sides. Eggplant will suck up oil, so be careful. I like to grill the eggplant, both for flavor and because it looks good. You can also 'dry fry' the eggplant in a pan. The objective to to partially cook, flavor and color the eggplant.
- Set the cook eggplant aside.
- Now make the white sauce.
- WHITE SAUCE
- Heat over a low flame, the milk in a saucepan, as it heats
- Melt the butter in a separate saucepan
- Add the flour, a little at a time, whisking constantly to blend well
- Pour the hot milk, a little at a time, into the butter/flour mixture. Keep whisking. Briskly whisking. You want to avoid any lumps in this sauce. Turn the heat up to about med to bring the mixture to a low boil.
- Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and combine
- Turn the heat down to med-low
- Beat the eggs lightly and temper the eggs with about a 1/2 C of the white sauce - whisking vigorously
- Pour the tempered eggs into the white sauce and whisk vigorously
- Avoid bring the white sauce back to boiling
- Add the cheese to the white sauce
- Cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan with eggplant slices
- Spoon 1/2 the meat sauce over the eggplant
- Add a second layer of eggplant on top of the meat sauce
- Cover the eggplant with the remainder of the meat sauce
- Pour the white sauce all over the meat sauce to cover the dish
- Sprinkle the extra grated cheese on top of the white sauce
- Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered.
- Hot, room temp or cold, this is a marvelous entree and deserves a crusty, absorbent bread and a crude vegetable salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives and sweet onions, with, perhaps, a vinaigrette dressing with a bit of fresh oregano...
|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Serving Size 364g|
|Recipe makes 8 servings|
|Calories from Fat 133||52%|
|Total Fat 15.0g||19%|
|Saturated Fat 6.32g||25%|
|Trans Fat 0.0g|
|Total Carbs 21.5g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 5.3g||18%|