Friday, December 20, 2013


Moussaka with tomato-cucumber-feta salad and steamed green beans
This is the kind of food that fills you from head to toe and gives you that warm fuzzy feeling. Moussaka can be made with any kind of ground meat. I used chicken. Tastes even better the next day. So double the recipe and keep one for the day after.
Greek moussaka
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground chicken
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or Parmesan or Romano

  1. Sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices and leave them to sweat for 20 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Cooking the potatoes: While the eggplant is sweating, heat olive oil in a large pan and add the potato slices and cook until lightly golden on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding. Transfer to a paper-lined plate to drain. Season lightly with salt.
  3. Cooking the eggplant slices: Place 1 cup of the flour in a bowl and dredge the eggplant slices in the flour. Shake to remove any excess flour. Heat oil in a skillet and, working in batches, fry the eggplant slices until golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add more oil as needed. Transfer to a paper-lined plate to drain.
  4. Making the meat sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet add the onions. Cook till slightly pink, about 3-4 minutes. Add the ground meat, garlic, and oregano and cook. Stir frequently and break any lumps, cook until meat is browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, water and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid is evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. Making the bechamel sauce: In a medium saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring so as to avoid browning. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth and thick. Season with salt, to taste, and whisk in the egg. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese and set aside, covered, while you assemble the casserole.
  6. Putting it all together: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large casserole dish and place the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Then layer as follows:
Potato slices
A third of the meat sauce
Half of the eggplant slices 
A third of the meat sauce
3/4 cup of the bechamel sauce 
1/4 cup of the cheese. 
Remaining eggplant slices, pressing down gently to compress. 
Remaining meat sauce
Remaining bechamel sauce evenly 
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese

Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on the top and heated throughout, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares and serve.

Tomato-cucumber-feta salad
In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, basil, olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse (Food network)

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