Recipe found on themediterraneandish.com
Makes 12 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise into ¼ inch-thick slices, end slices discarded
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tablespoon breadcrumbs
For the meat sauce
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb ground lamb or beef
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika or hot paprika
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 14 oz can diced tomato
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup hot beef broth
For the bechamel
- 1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more if you like
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 cups 2% milk, warmed
- 2 large eggs
- Spread the eggplant slices in one layer and sprinkle with salt. Let set for 30 minutes to “sweat out” its bitterness. Turn the broiler of your oven on. Prepare a large sheet pan or two and brush with extra virgin olive oil. Pat the eggplant slices dry, removing excess salt and assemble in one layer on the prepared pan. Brush generously with olive oil.
- Place the sheet pan about 6 inches away from the broiler. Broil the eggplant briefly, turning over so that both sides are softened and golden brown (do not worry if parts of the eggplant are slightly charred, but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet. Cook the onions on medium heat until they turn slightly golden brown, stirring regularly (about 5 minutes). Now add the ground lamb or beef. Cook the meat until fully browned, tossing regularly. Drain the lamb or beef from any excess fat and return to the skillet. Add the dried oregano, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and hot paprika. Stir to coat the meat with the spices. Add the wine and boil for 1 minute to reduce. Stir in the canned tomatoes, sugar and broth. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F and work on the bechamel.
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Cook until golden (if needed, added a little more olive oil). Gradually add the warmed milk, whisking continuously. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of the hot bechamel mixture with the 2 eggs. Then return all to the pan and stir into the bechamel mixture. Continue to stir or whisk the mixture bringing to a gentle boil for just 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and thicken a little more. You should have a creamy, thick and smooth bechamel sauce.
- When ready, lightly oil a 9 ½” x 13″ oven-safe baking dish. Layer half the eggplant slices on the bottom. Add the meat sauce and spread well. Add the remaining eggplant slices. Pour the bechamel on top and spread to cover all the eggplant, then sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake the moussaka casserole on the center rack of the heated oven for 45 minutes. If you need to, transfer the baking pan to the top rack and broil briefly so that the top of the moussaka gains a nice golden brown color (watch carefully).
- Remove from the heat and let the casserole sit for 10 minutes before cutting through into squares to serve. Enjoy!
- Make ahead tips: You can prepare and broil the eggplant and meat sauce a day or two in advance. The bechamel sauce can also be made a few days ahead (it can hold texture for about 1 week, although you should count some days for leftovers). If you prepare the components of this eggplant casserole ahead of time, keep them each in the fridge in separate tightly-closed containers. If the bechamel thickens too much, you may need to reheat it gently before using over low heat, adding a little more milk and whisking to make sure the mixture is. not lumpy.
- Let the moussaka rest before serving: After removing the eggplant moussaka from the oven, let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes so that it does not fall apart when you slice it, the bechamel sauce in particular needs to settle.
- Leftover storage tips: Moussaka will keep well in the fridge for about five days (although you need to count any make-ahead days).