I'm officially a blogging slacker! I can't believe that I didn't post anything for a week, it's not like I wasn't cooking! Well, enough procrastinating... As I mentioned in previous post, I love fall. I am so excited to be able to cook more soups and casseroles. One of my favorites is Greek Moussaka. Moussaka is a casserole of eggplant and ground lamb with onion and tomatoes bound with white sauce and beaten eggs. I've made some changes to the classic recipe, first I left out the white sauce and second I did not use lamb. Leaving out the white sauce made it much lighter and since we are not lamb eaters I've used ground beef. The base recipe is by Tyler Florence.
* 3 large eggplants
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 lemon, sliced in thin circles
* 1 handful fresh oregano leaves, chopped
* 2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
* 2 pounds ground lamb (I used ground beef)
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 3 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
* 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
To prepare the eggplants: Cut off the stems, remove the skin with a vegetable peeler, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Season all the pieces of eggplant with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat a large skillet with oil and heat over medium flame. Fry the eggplant in a single layer, turning once, until brown on both sides- you will need to do this in batches, adding more oil, as necessary. Drain the eggplant as they cook on a paper towel-lined platter.
Add a little more oil to the pan and toss in the onion, garlic, lemon slices, oregano, and parsley. Cook and stir until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb, stirring to break up the meat; season with salt and pepper, and toss in the cinnamon stick. Stir in the tomato paste and hand-crushed tomatoes. Simmer until the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with 1/3 of the eggplant slices; they should completely cover the bottom with no gaps. Spread 1/2 of the meat sauce over the eggplant, evening it out with a spatula. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the feta and Parmesan. Repeat the layers again, ending with a final layer of eggplant. Cover the top with a nice even layer of bread crumbs. Bake the moussaka for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.