Moussaka Print Email

3 medium eggplants, * see note
Quarter cup butter
2 LBS ground lamb
Freshly ground pepper -- to taste
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 TSP ground cinnamon
1/4 TSP freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 TSP dried fines herbs, crushed
2 TBS minced fresh parsley
1 cup Basic Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups Basic White Sauce
3 egg yolks, optional
Olive oil for frying and for baking dish
1 and a half cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Kefalotyri

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add lamb, pepper, onions, garlic, and salt to taste; sauté until meat is evenly browned (about 10 minutes), breaking it up with a fork as it cooks.

Add cinnamon, nutmeg, fines herbs, parsley, and tomato sauce; stir, mixing well.

Add wine and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced and mixture is quite thick (about 20 minutes).

Remove from heat and set aside. While lamb mixture simmers, prepare white sauce. For a richer sauce, beat the optional egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in some of the hot sauce.

Add egg mixture to remaining white sauce and whisk to blend well. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wipe eggplant slices dry. With a pastry brush, lightly oil a skillet placed over high heat.

Quickly fry eggplant slices until golden on both sides but still firm; remove to paper towels to drain. (If you follow this method closely the eggplant will not absorb too much oil.)

Lightly oil a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Layer half of the eggplant in bottom of dish.

Spoon lamb mixture over eggplant, sprinkle with a layer of cheese, and then top with remaining eggplant. Sprinkle with more cheese and then pour reserved white sauce evenly over the casserole. Lavishly sprinkle cheese over the top.

Bake until cheese is golden brown (20 to 30 minutes). Do not overcook or eggplant will be too soft. Cool slightly.

Serving Ideas : Cut in 3-inch squares to serve.
NOTES : Peel eggplants and cut lengthwise in 1/2-inch-thick slices. Liberally sprinkle with salt, place on paper towels, weight down with a heavy platter, and let stand to drain 30 minutes to 1 hour. Zucchini

Variation: For the eggplant, substitute 2 pounds zucchini, sliced lengthwise and fried briefly in olive oil. Potato Variation: For the eggplant, substitute 2 pounds potatoes, cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices and fried a few minutes in olive oil. Yield: 12 servings as a main dish.

Serves 12.

Prepared by Chef DeJohn