Moussaka Done Right!
Don’t pass this up because it seems like too much. It’s amazing and must be done!
Make this in three stages, the meat, the veggies and the béchamel. You can actually make the meat mixture ahead of time and freeze for later use or just a day ahead.
3/4 lb ground sirloin
3/4 lb ground lamb
1xtra large really sweet onion (Grated)
7 cloves of Garlic (freshly minced)
3 tbls olive oil
Add all of above ingredients to a skillet and cook slowly mushing and stirring constantly until browned. ( this keeps the meat in a “minced” condition and avoids clumping) now drain the oil well from the beef then return to pan and add……
1C nice red wine
4 oz tomato paste
1can diced tomatos ( but chop them up a bit more) I just use kitchen Scissors to do this right in the can!
1/2 can water
1tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground clove
3 bay leafs
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dry oregano
1tsp dry basil
Salt n Pepper to taste I use a bit to balance the acid.
Cook all of this covered on medium low heat for an hour and a half, then uncover and cook for 10-15 minutes on low stirring occasionally.
After cooked then add salt and pepper to taste.
3 round eggplant sliced in thin rounds.
2 medium sized starchy potatoes sliced into thin rounds
1tbls olive oil
salt and pepper
Soak the eggplant in a large bowl of well salted water for an hour to remove the bitterness. Then rinse and towel dry, patting flat to get as much of the water out as possible. While eggplant is soaking heat oven to 400°f. Brush or spray olive oil onto a foil lined cookie sheet. Lay potato slices (not touching) on to sheet and bake in hot oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. While potatoes are cooking oil your large lasagna pan and then when potatoes are done layer potatoes into the bottom of lasagna pan overlapping leaving no gaps! Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Now take your towel dried eggplant and sprinkle or dust with cinnamon. Then lay them on the same cookie sheet that you cooked your potatoes on and (again not touching) bake them for 10 minutes in the same 400°f oven. Now take them out and layer into the lasagna pan over the potatoes.take oven down to 350°F. Now on to the Béchamel sauce….
You can make the roux with the spices the day before as well if you like and just add the warm milk and eggs on the day of if you like.
5 tbls butter
5 tbls flour
Stir together until creamy then add
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbls sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Stir for at least 4 minutes over medium heat to cook out flour taste. Take off heat. In another pan heat 3 & 1/2 cups milk to simmer but not boiling. Return roux to medium heat and gradually add warm milk while whisking constantly. Now in a small bowl beat
I use a stick blender and blend aprox 1 cup of the hot cream sauce into the beaten eggs. (this keeps the eggs from cooking) now you can add the egg/cream mixture to the rest of the cream sauce and beat more with the stick blender right in the pot. This is your Béchamel.
Now spread 1/3 of your meat sauce over your eggplant and potatoes then sprinkle 1/3 of the below cheese mixture onto the meat sauce.
3/4 cup of grated cave aged cheddar cheese
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Mixed together and use in 3 batches
Now make another layer with the remaining sliced and baked eggplant and then top with remaining meat sauce. Now spread your Béchamel onto the top and then sprinkle with another 1/3 of your cheese mixture. Bake the moussaka in oven at 350ºF, for about 30 minutes, or until the cream unevenly gently browns in places. Allow the moussaka to cool for about 30 minutes and then cut it into servings. Garnish with a sprig of Basil and a fresh sprinkle of grated cheese mixture. But be warned this will ruin you forever for all other Moussaka!Special occasion? Try a surprise picnic!