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Moussaka

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#Moussaka plated

Moussaka
by James Belardo

Moussaka is one of our all-time favorite Greek dishes but it’s fairly labor intensive. The actual assembly doesn’t take long but the preparation of the individual components may take a bit of time. It’s best to start early and plan each stage. It’s a nice dish to serve when company is coming over because the final stages are relatively easy.

Ideas for celebrating or a good excuse to make Moussaka!
Greek Orthodox Easter – You can celebrate Greek Orthodox Easter with Moussaka because it usually falls a week or two after the ‘observed’ Easter. This way it won’t interfere with your own easter traditions>

Springtime – After a long winter it’s nice to celebrate the coming spring by making something a little special. Plan a day around making Moussaka

Greek Independence Day – March 25th marks the beginning of the Greek War of Independence (from the Ottoman Empire in 1821). Tradition would have you eat fried bakaliaro (cod) and skordalia (garlic sauce) but we think Moussaka would be perfect.

Ideas for Side Dishes
Since Moussaka is a fairly dense food combining meat and starch we find the best compliment are fresh or steamed vegetables with light seasonings. Rice may also be served. Here are a few examples.
  • Greek Salad – cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, Kalamata Olives and Greek Feta (Greek dressing (olive oil, fresh lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, oregano and caper))
  • Maroulosalata (Greek lettuce salad) (Romaine lettuce + Greek dressing (olive oil, fresh lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, oregano and caper)
  • Cucumber with Greek Feta and Mint (olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper)
  • Green Beans – steamed and tossed with lemon, butter and olive oil
  • Mixed Vegetables – Cauliflower, Broccoli, carrots
  • Greek-Style Grilled Vegetables (see recipe)
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Greek style rice – use chicken stock and mix in lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice, oregano, and some sautéed diced peppers
  • Burnt Butter Rice – use chicken stock and add 1/4 cup of burnt butter (for 1 cup uncooked rice)

Ingredients
2 lbs. ground beef or veal (or lamb)
2 small-medium sized eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1-2 medium zucchini thinly sliced
1.5 lb. potatoes, thinly sliced (peeled and precooked). Do not use baking potatoes, they’ll become too soft
1 onion finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
1 cup hand-crushed tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes)
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups Seasoned bread crumbs (preferably home-made)
4 eggs – whites, lightly beaten (reserve yolks for the bechamel).
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (trad. Kefalotyri)
oregano
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Bechamel Sauce
Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup warm milk
4 egg yolks, beaten lightly
ground nutmeg
salt

Directions

Potatoes
1. Peel the potatoes and boil them whole, do not over-cook, you will need to slice them without letting them crumble!
2. Drain, let cool and slice them in 1/4 inch slices, set aside.
#Moussaka prep - pre-boiled and cut #potatoes

Eggplant
1. Coat the eggplant slices in the egg whites, dredge them in the breadcrumbs and fry them in olive oil. Set aside
#Moussaka prep - the eggplant, fried in grape seed and olive oil

Meat Sauce
1. In 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté the onions and garlic until the onions begin to turn translucent and the garlic softens
#Moussaka prep - onions and garlic for the red meat sauce
2. Add the ground beef and cook until beginning to brown
#Moussaka prep - add the meat, let cool until brown... The add salt, pepper and oregano
3. Add the red wine and let cook until reduced by 50% or so. before
#Moussaka prep - a cup of red #Wine cinnamon and allspice
4. Add the hand-crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, let reduce until the sauce is thick…
#Moussaka prep - 1.5 cups hand-crushed #Tomatoes
5. add salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice.
6. Toss in some chopped flat leaf parsley and set aside.
#Moussaka prep - 2 tbsp tomato paste and flat leaf parsley

Béchamel Sauce
1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Using a whisk, add the flour while whisking continuously until smooth. Do not let it to brown!
#Moussaka prep - #butter for the #Bechamel
2. Add the warm milk slowly, whisking constantly.
#Moussaka prep - flour and milk for the #Bechamel
3. Simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens but doesn’t boil.
4. Remove from heat, stir in beaten egg yolks with a pinch of nutmeg.
#Moussaka prep - finally egg yolk and nutmeg for the #Bechamel
5. Return to heat, stir until sauce thickens and set aside.
Assembly
1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees
2. Lightly oil a large baking pan (lasagna pan).
3. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on the bottom of pan.
#Moussaka assembly - now cook...
4. Layer 1 – Potatoes (do not go right to edge, leave some space)
#Moussaka assembly - now cook...
5. Layer 2 – Eggplant (use half)
#Moussaka assembly - now cook...
6. Layer 3 – zucchini
#Moussaka assembly - now cook...
7. Layer 4 – meat sauce
#Moussaka assembly - now cook...
8. Layer 5 – cheese (1/4)
#Moussaka assembly - now cook...
9. Layer 6 – Eggplant (remaining)
#Moussaka assembly - now cook...
10. Layer 7 –  cheese (1/4)
#Moussaka assembly - now cook...
11. Layer 8 – cover with the Béchamel sauce, smooth with spatula
12. Layer 9 – use remaining grated cheese
#Moussaka assembly - now cook...
13. Cook in oven for about 45 minutes or until béchamel sauce is browned.
14. Cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
15. Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley on top.
My first #Moussaka - #Italian style

Enjoy!

The Grape Gourmet
• health • wellness • culture • flavor •

a Mo’zArt Production 

Written by Zio James

April 15, 2015 at 3:34 PM

One Response

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  1. […] An Easter Feast, I mean celebration, doesn’t have to end in one weekend only… you can expand your celebrations and host a Moussaka party to bring in the spring with a resounding OPA! Try our delectably savory Moussaka now! […]


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