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EGGPLANT - Moussaka

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Moussaka The Chew The Sauce:
    1/4 cup  Dried Currants
    1/4 cup  Greek Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, (Divided)
    1 pound  Ground Lamb
    1/2 teaspoon  Ground Cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon  Ground Ginger
    1/4 teaspoon  Ground Allspice
    1/8 teaspoon  Cayenne
      Kosher Salt
      Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    1 Large  Yellow Onion, (Halved and Thinly Sliced)
    1  Red Bell pepper, (Stemmed/Cored/Thinly Sliced)
1 Serrano Chile (Finely Diced)
    5 Cloves  Garlic, (Finely Chopped)
    2 tablespoons  Tomato Paste
    1 cup  Red Wine
    1 28 oz. Can  Plum Tomatoes, (Pureed Until Smooth with Their Juices)
The Eggplant:
    1.5 cups  Canola Oil
    1.5 pound  Eggplant, (Cut Crosswise into 14 Thick Slices)
      Kosher Salt
      Freshly Ground Black Pepper
The Bechamel:
    6 tablespoons  Unsalted Butter
    1/2 cup  Flour
    2.5 cups  Milk
    1  Bay Leaf
      Kosher Salt
      Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    1/8 teaspoon  Freshly Grated Nutmeg
    3  Egg Yolks
    1/2 cup  Soft Goat Cheese
    1 cup  Grated Romano, (Plus Extra for Garnish)
    1/4 cup  Chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, (Plus More for Garnish)
    2 tablespoons  Chopped Fresh Oregano
      Honey, (If Needed)
    1  Lemon, (Zested)

1. For the lamb: Soak the currants in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the lamb, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cayenne, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a large strainer set over a bowl and drain; discard any liquid left in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

3. Return the lamb to the pan, add the wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and currants and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Check for seasoning and remove from the heat.

4. For the eggplant: Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Season the eggplant slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the eggplant slices and fry until tender and lightly golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant slices to paper towels.

5. For the bechamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and bay leaf and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and discard the bay leaf. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, goat cheese, Romano cheese, parsley, oregano, honey and lemon zest and whisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth.

6. To assemble: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or casserole dish.

7. Put half the eggplant slices in the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining eggplant slices, and then the remaining meat sauce. Pour the bechamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Romano evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until browned and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Top with more chopped parsley, if desired. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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