Moussaka magic…no rain, however…
You know your Greek when your friends can’t pronounce what you’re eating…
Clousy day/cloudy/lousy weather day…a blended word as it is called…
Over at the cooking club, it is pot luck week and my taste buds were just so ready for something Greek again and since my grilling wishes got washed out once again I managed a wonderful moussaka for dinner. Since Greek and Italian cooking is similar with a slight spice profile change I was able to take a major shortcut by using a previously made Bolognese sauce and adding in some cinnamon and allspice to my Bolognese blend of veal pork and beef…a “real day of” time saver. Tessa’s recipe is below which I did follow, for the most part, kind of…
I added a little fresh oregano and a sprinkle of feta cheese over the meat layers, the béchamel layer was topped with some feta and some Bel Giosio shaved cheese…
Moussaka (from ‘Falling Cloudberries’ by Tessa Kiros)
2 1/2 pounds eggplants (2 large eggplants) I prefer the medium-sized eggplant
1 cup light olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves finely minced
2 pounds mixed pork and beef (I made a blend of pork veal and beef)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red or white wine
2 cups tomato sauce(in same section as tinned, peeled tom)
1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and quarter-inch slices
Use a dish about 35cm x 24cm x 6cm deep about a 2 quart oblong baking dish
Trim the tops of the eggplant and slice into 1/4 inch slices
Sprinkle salt generously over the slices to draw out bitter juices (leave about minutes)
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in wide saucepan. Saute onion til soft. Add parsley and garlic and cook for another minute.
Add meat sauce and cook over medium-high heat until brown.
Add cinnamon,oregano and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
When mince is cooked through, add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure no mince is stuck. Let most of the wine evaporate, then add tomato sauce and leave to simmer 30 mins, uncovered, stirring now and then. Break up any clusters of meat.
Slice potatoes lengthways into 5mm slices and pat dry. Heat 4-5 tablespoons olive oil and fry in batches until golden and cooked through. Remove to paper towel lined plate sheet pan and season with a little salt.
Rinse eggplant and pat dry. Fry in batches in the same pan as potato. They will absorb a lot of oil,so may need to add more, tablespoon for each batch,to the pan as you go. Cook them til soft and drain on paper.
Preheat oven to 350º
Add half of the eggplant over the bottom of the baking dish. Add potatoes in single layer. Add half the meat, pressing it down. Next add rest of eggplant,then final layer of meat sauce. Press it down and top with béchamel and cheeses if you choose to add cheese to the top.
Make bechamel just before you bake the moussaka.
1/4 pound butter
1 cup plain flour
4 cups warm milk
add freshly grated nutmeg and a little chopped parsley
Melt butter in large saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook for a few minutes then begin adding warm milk. Keep whisking as you go and when smooth add salt pepper and nutmeg. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes or so. Taste for seasoning.
Spoon over top of mince.
Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour with baking tray under to catch any spills. Leave in oven to cool a bit before serving.