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home > recipes > vegetables > melitzanes moussaka
2-3 eggplants (depending on size of eggplants) 2-3 Tablespoons (T) salt 3-4 T of olive oil combined with equal amount of melted butter Meat Filling: 2-3 T butter plus equal amount of olive oil for frying 2 onions, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 and 1/2 (3/4 kilo) of ground lamb or beef (chuck) 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon (t) oregano 1 t basil 1/2 t black pepper 3 T parsley, finely chopped 1 large tomato, skinned and diced 1 T tomato paste (NOT sauce) 1/4 cup (c) white or red wine (I prefer white) 1/2 c chicken stock prepared from Maggi cube 2 T dry bread crumbs Bechamel Sauce for Topping: 3 T butter 3 T flour 1 and 1/4 c milk 1/2 c light cream 1/4 t nutmeg 1/4 t salt 1/4 t white pepper 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten 3/4 c grated Kefalotiri cheese or substitute (e.g., Romano) Butter and dried cracker or bread crumbs for preparing baking utensil A. Preparation of Eggplant: Using a potato peeler or paring knife, partially peel the eggplants lengthwise, leaving narrow strips of skin. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 1/2" slices. Salt the eggplant heavily, coating both sides, and place in colander lined with paper towels. The salt will draw out both the acid and the water from the eggplant, causing it to absorb less oil. (Alternatively, eggplant can be soaked in heavily salted water.) Let stand for at least 30 minutes or preferably for one hour. Rinse eggplant well in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place eggplant on a cookie tin in a single layer (do two batches, if necessary) and sprinkle or brush lightly with olive oil-butter mixture. Broil briefly on each side (3-4 minutes) until golden. Set aside. Grease a baking dish with softened butter and coat with dry cracker or bread crumbs. Do NOT use flour, as flour has a tendency to stick and burn. B. Preparation of Meat Filling: In a heavy skillet or Dutch Oven, melt 2-3 T of butter and add an equal amount of olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic until soft. Add meat and saute until it changes color. Add bay leaf, oregano, basil, and black pepper. Saute for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour off excess grease. Add chopped parsley and tomatoes. Stir in the tomato paste, wine, and stock, then simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in bread crumbs. C. Preparation of Bechamel Sauce In heavy saucepan or Creuset pot, melt butter (do NOT allow to brown), then whisk in flour. Cook on low heat, whisking constantly, for few minutes, to get rid of the raw taste of the flour. Do NOT allow to brown or burn. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in 1 cup of milk, stirring until flour is thoroughly blended. Return to burner and cook on medium heat, whisking frequently, until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat again and whisk in the cream. Return to heat and cook until mixture thickens. (If mixture becomes too thick, remove pan from burner and whisk in additional milk. Return to heat and cook until proper consistency.) Remove from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg and white pepper. Whisk eggs or yolks in small bowl, then whisk in 1/2 c of the sauce. Add the mixture to the remaining sauce. Stir to blend well (do NOT allow to boil). Remove from heat and assemble moussaka. D. Assembly of the Moussaka Using half of the prepared eggplant, form a layer in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping the eggplant slightly. Sprinkle with some of the cheese. Spread the meat mixture over the eggplant layer and again sprinkle with a layer of cheese. Layer the remaining eggplant slices on top of the meat mixture and sprinkle with another layer of cheese. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit (medium oven temperature) for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. ALTERNATE VERSION: For those of you like myself who prefer a more Middle-Eastern than Mediterranean version of Moussaka, substitute the following spices for the herbs in the above recipe. In place of the oregano, basil, and parsley, use the following: 1-2 t of cinnamon, according to taste 1/2 t allspice* 1/4 t nutmeg 1 t sugar * Better yet, use 1/2-1 t of Baharat, Ras el-Hanout, or Kebsa in place of the allspice. These are all wonderful mixtures of spices used in the Middle East. They can be used in a variety of dishes and can sometimes be purchased from a Middle-Eastern grocer but, if not, you can prepare your own. The number of spices used number around 9 but can be as few as four or five. The major ingredients include cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin, paprika, and black pepper. A "cheater’s" or "shortcut" version of Baharat can be made using: 1 T allspice, 1 T cinnamon, 1 and 1/2 t nutmeg, plus 1/2-1 t cloves but it is not as good as the real thing. Use only about 1 t of this mixture and save the remainder for other dishes.

Melitzanes Moussaka


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keyword: melitzanes
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ethnicity: greek
recipes for vegetables
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(posted January 28, 2006)

2-3 eggplants (depending on size of eggplants)
2-3 Tablespoons (T)
salt
3-4 T of
olive oil combined with equal amount of melted butter

Meat Filling:

2-3 T
butter plus equal amount of
olive oil for frying
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves
garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 (3/4 kilo) of ground
lamb or beef (chuck)
1
bay leaf
1 teaspoon (t)
oregano
1 t
basil
1/2 t black pepper
3 T
parsley, finely chopped
1 large
tomato, skinned and diced
1 T
tomato paste (NOT sauce)
1/4 cup (c) white or
red
wine (I prefer white)
1/2 c
chicken stock prepared from Maggi cube
2 T
dry bread crumbs

Bechamel
Sauce for Topping:

3 T
butter
3 T
flour
1 and 1/4 c
milk
1/2 c
light cream
1/4 t
nutmeg
1/4 t
salt
1/4 t white pepper
2
egg yolks, lightly beaten

3/4 c grated Kefalotiri
cheese or substitute (e.g., Romano)

Butter and dried cracker or
bread crumbs for preparing baking utensil

A. Preparation of
Eggplant:

Using a
potato peeler or paring
knife, partially peel the eggplants lengthwise, leaving narrow strips of skin. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 1/2" slices. Salt the eggplant heavily, coating both sides, and place in colander lined with paper towels. The salt will draw out both the acid and the water from the eggplant, causing it to absorb less oil. (Alternatively, eggplant can be soaked in heavily salted water.) Let stand for at least 30 minutes or preferably for one hour. Rinse eggplant well in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Place
eggplant on a cookie tin in a single layer (do two batches, if necessary) and sprinkle or brush lightly with
olive oil-butter mixture. Broil briefly on each side (3-4 minutes) until golden. Set aside.

Grease a baking dish with softened butter and coat with
dry cracker or bread crumbs. Do NOT use flour, as flour has a tendency to stick and burn.

B. Preparation of Meat Filling:

In a
heavy skillet or Dutch Oven, melt 2-3 T of butter and add an equal amount of
olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic until soft. Add meat and saute until it changes color. Add bay leaf, oregano, basil, and black pepper. Saute for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour off excess grease. Add chopped parsley and tomatoes. Stir in the tomato paste, wine, and stock, then simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in bread crumbs.

C. Preparation of Bechamel
Sauce

In
heavy saucepan or Creuset
pot, melt butter (do NOT allow to brown), then whisk in flour. Cook on low heat, whisking constantly, for few minutes, to get rid of the raw taste of the flour. Do NOT allow to brown or burn. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in 1 cup of milk, stirring until flour is thoroughly blended. Return to burner and cook on medium heat, whisking frequently, until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat again and whisk in the cream. Return to heat and cook until mixture thickens. (If mixture becomes too thick, remove pan from burner and whisk in additional milk. Return to heat and cook until proper consistency.) Remove from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg and white pepper. Whisk eggs or yolks in small bowl, then whisk in 1/2 c of the sauce. Add the mixture to the remaining sauce. Stir to blend well (do NOT allow to boil). Remove from heat and assemble moussaka.

D. Assembly of the Moussaka

Using half of the prepared
eggplant, form a layer in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping the eggplant slightly. Sprinkle with some of the cheese. Spread the meat mixture over the eggplant layer and again sprinkle with a layer of cheese. Layer the remaining eggplant slices on top of the meat mixture and sprinkle with another layer of cheese. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit (medium oven temperature) for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

ALTERNATE VERSION:

For those of you like myself who prefer a more Middle-Eastern than Mediterranean version of Moussaka, substitute the following
spices for the herbs in the above recipe.

In place of the
oregano, basil, and parsley, use the following:

1-2 t of
cinnamon, according to taste
1/2 t
allspice*
1/4 t
nutmeg
1 t
sugar

* Better yet, use 1/2-1 t of Baharat, Ras el-Hanout, or Kebsa in place of the
allspice. These are all wonderful mixtures of spices used in the Middle East. They can be used in a variety of dishes and can sometimes be purchased from a Middle-Eastern grocer but, if not, you can prepare your own. The number of spices used number around 9 but can be as few as four or five. The major ingredients include cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin, paprika, and black pepper. A "cheater’s" or "shortcut" version of Baharat can be made using: 1 T allspice, 1 T cinnamon, 1 and 1/2 t nutmeg, plus 1/2-1 t cloves but it is not as good as the real thing. Use only about 1 t of this mixture and save the remainder for other dishes.


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