Greek Moussaka Recipe
Moussaka is a great meal choice when entertaining...You can prepare ahead
Eggplants and meat sauce:
5-6 medium globe eggplants
A pinch of salt (do not use salt substitute- salt is used to eliminate the bitter taste of the eggplants)
Olive oil for sautéing and broiling
3 medium sweet Vidalia onions, pilled and chopped into small pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced
7 whole garlic cloves
black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp of freshly ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
2 fresh bay leaves
3 cups ripe tomatoes chopped (substitute with 3 cups canned tomatoes with the juice, if desired)
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup red cooking wine
2.5 pounds (1.3 kg) of ground beef/or ground lamb
Grated Kefalotyri cheese for garnish (optional)
Béchamel sauce(make 6 cups)
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
3/4 cups of unsalted butter
6 cups hot whole milk (substitute 2% milk if preferred)
2 egg yolks ( separated from egg whites and beaten)
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Wash eggplants and trim the steams. Peel off the skin and cut lengthwise into medium-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
Rinse the eggplant slices and coat liberally with olive oil. Place in a baking tray.
Broil for 10-15 minutes, until the eggplant is lightly browned and soft.
Set aside to cool.
Meat sauce preparation:
Heat a lightly oiled skillet on medium-low heat. Sauté the onions and the garlic for 10 minutes, or until transparent and soft.
Add the meat and sauté until lightly browned.
Add tomatoes, and sprinkle half of the breadcrumbs. Mix thoroughly
Add the spices tomato paste and wine. Cover the pen and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until all liquids are absorbed. If the mixture still contains liquids, uncover, and mix thoroughly for an additional 5 minutes until dry.
Turn off the heat and set aside uncovered.
Béchamel sauce preparation: - To save time, prepare the sauce while the meat is simmering.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan under low heat.
Gradually add the flour, ¼ cup at a time and stir until smooth. Repeat until all of the flour is added.
Increase the heat to medium-low and slowly ad the milk whisking constantly, until creamy and thick. Remove from the heat and add the beaten egg yolks and the spices.
Return to the heat and whisk for an additional minute until all ingredients are combined. Set aside to cool.
Assembly:- Preheat oven to 350F.
On a lightly oiled baking pan, sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs.
Align the eggplants on top of the breadcrumbs.
Spread the meat mixture on top of the eggplants.
Cover the meat with remaining eggplants.
Spread the béchamel sauce on top.
Bake for 30 minutes, and then sprinkle the cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the top becomes golden brown.