Moussaka

It's been a Greek recipe bonanza lately in my house, from Tzatziki to Spanakopita to my most recent post, Galaktoboureko.  My husband and I decided to try a couple of recipes out in one night to keep up the theme, since I am Greek and have been really enjoying trying out some these recipes from scratch.  The first item up was Moussaka.  We also made Pastitsio and Greek Salad Dressing, which I'll be posting next.

It was certainly handy to have some help cooking all these recipes together, since each took several steps.  The end result was so worth it!

Moussaka is a layered eggplant and ground meat dish that is full of flavor.  I'm a huge fan of eggplant Parmesan and was excited to try cooking the vegetable on my own.  I followed this recipe, swapping out half and half for heavy cream to thicken the cheese topping.

I started out by peeling and slicing 2 eggplants until they were about 1/2" thick.


I then laid them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and sprayed both sides with olive oil .  I sprinkled each side with some salt and pepper, then broiled them in the oven for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until they were slightly browned.


Next, I arranged half of the roasted eggplant slices in a baking dish sprayed with olive oil to create the bottom layer of the Moussaka.


I chopped 2 onions to use in the sauce, then browned the beef with the onions in a skillet.  I added in minced garlic, tomato sauce, oregano, salt and pepper and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes.


I poured the sauce over the eggplant slices to make the next layer.


Then, I topped the sauce with the rest of the eggplant slices.


The cheese sauce was next to top the Moussaka off.  I made it on the stove top by melting butter then mixed in the flour, salt, and pepper.  I gradually mixed in the cream, using heavy cream instead of the half and half to create a really thick sauce.  I simmered the sauce over medium heat until it began to thicken and got bubbly.  In a small bowl, I beat the egg, then scooped in a small amount of the cream sauce from the pan.  I then poured the egg into the saucepan and mixed.  Finally, I poured in the Parmesan cheese and mixed well until it was melted.


I poured the cheese sauce over the top layer of eggplant and placed it in the oven for 45 minutes.


Take a look at the finished product.




Oh my goodness.  This was truly amazing and I'm so happy I know how to make it now so I can cook it again and again.  My husband went crazy for it, and I brought a few samples in to work that went over very well.  This is definitely one of my favorite new dinner choices!

Moussaka Recipe

Ingredients:

2 medium eggplants
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Spray a 9" x 13" baking casserole with olive oil. Peel the eggplants, then slice about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Coat or spray each side of sliced eggplant with olive oil, then sprinkle each side lightly with salt and pepper. Place the eggplant slices on parchment-lined cookie sheet and broil in the oven for 4-5 minutes, until browned. Flip slices and repeat. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lay half the eggplant slices in the bottom of the casserole, overlapping as needed. Finely chop onions and add with beef to a large skillet, then cook until beef is browned. Drain fat, then add in garlic, tomato sauce, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then pour over eggplant slices. Arrange the remaining eggplant slices over the sauce. For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add in in heavy cream and continue simmering over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Beat egg in a small bowl, then scoop in a small amount of the cream sauce and mix. Pour egg into cream sauce and stir. Add Parmesan and mix until melted. Pour the cheese sauce over eggplants in baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes.

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