Oh.... my.....GOD!! We loved this recipe. I've never made Moussaka before, actually I've never even tasted Moussaka before, but I bought a new cookbook called Mediterranean Food of the Sun and this recipe just jumped out at me. Look for more recipes from this book over the next few months! Since this was a brand new recipe from a brand new book, I am going to submit this post to the Weekend Cookbook Challenge #16, where this month's theme is "Something New".
Never in a million gazillion years would I have expected my kids to eat this. In fact I would have just made them hotdogs, except we've got a pretty firm rule in our house that you eat what you've been served (or don't eat it, but don't expect me to make you something different). To my complete shock, they both gobbled this up. Claire even mopped up every last bit of juice with the homemade pita bread that I made to go alongside.
All in all, it wasn't too hard. I think it was about the same amount of work as making lasagna. I will post the recipe the way it was supposed to be made, but I lightened mine a little by: (1) grilling the eggplant under the broiler instead of frying, (2) browning the lamb and onion in just a little cooking spray, and (3) using 25% less fat butter for the roux in the white sauce, which I made with skim milk. Next time I make this, I think I will peel the eggplant before I slice them.
2 lbs eggplant
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large tomatoes
2 large onions, sliced
1 lb ground lamb
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
3 tbsp toasted breadcrumbs
1. Cut eggplants into 1/4" thick slices. Layer the slices in a colander with plenty of salt sprinkled on each layer. Let stand 30 minutes, and rinse off salt. Rinse 2 or 3 times with cold water and dry eggplants with paper towel.
2. Heat some of the oil in a large frying pan and fry eggplant in batches until golden on both sides, adding more oil as needed.
3. Plunge tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds, then refresh in cold water. Peel and chop roughly.
4. Heat some oil and brown lamb in large skillet, break up large pieces (drain excess fat) and add onions, cook a few more minutes.
5. Add tomatoes, cinnamon, allspice, tomato paste, parsley, wine, and pepper to the meat and onions. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.
6. Spoon alternating layers into a greased 9"x13" baking dish. Start with a layer of eggplant, then half the meat mixture. Then another layer of eggplant, and the second half of the meat mixture. Finish with a layer of eggplant.
7. Make the sauce. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and slowly stir in milk. Return to heat and whisk until sauce thickens. Stir in nutmeg and Parmesan.
8. Spread sauce over last layer of eggplant and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for 45 minutes at 350F. Let sit 5-10 minutes before slicing.