Rick’s Greek Moussaka

MoussakaOne side of my wife’s family is Greek and we all enjoy Greek food.  This recipe is always a hit. A rich lamb tomato sauce between eggplant layers and topped with a rich feta bechamel sauce makes a great main course. Add some stuffed grape leaves and a real Greek salad and you have yourself a meal.

Ingredients

For the lamb sauce:

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil (Greek if you have it.)

1 lb. ground lamb

1 large yellow onion chopped

3 cloves garlic finely chopped

3 14 oz. cans chopped tomatoes

¼ tsp. ground allspice

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon dried mint

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large eggplant, cut into 1/3 inch slices

For the bechamel topping:

3 tbs. unsalted butter

3 tbs. all-purpose flour

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 cup whole milk

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Recipe

Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add onion and cook, stirring until soft, about 4 minutes. Add lamb and cook stirring until no pink remains. Break up clumps with a wooden spoon. Add the allspice and cinnamon and stir to incorporate. Add tomatoes with their juices and the mint, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Oil 2 cookie sheets and place eggplant slices on them, lightly brushing them with olive oil. Broil 4 inches from flame for 4 minutes. Turn slices over, brush lightly with olive oil and broil for 4 minutes. You may need to do two batches.

Oil a 9 by 13 oven-proof baking dish and line the bottom with half the eggplant, overlapping the slices slightly. When the lamb sauce is finished spoon it over the eggplant, and place the remaining slices on top of the sauce overlapping slightly.

Move rack to middle the oven and pre-heat it to 375 degree F.

In another saucepan melt the butter over medium low heat and add the flour, whisking for 3 minutes. Add the milk in a steady stream while whisking for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens and no lumps remain. Add the crumbled feta and whisk until it has melted into the sauce. Remove the sauce from heat and cover. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then pour in the beaten eggs while whisking until they are incorporated into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the baking dish to cover the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the bechamel sauce is lightly brown. Let the dish sit for ten minutes before serving.

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