Eggplant Recipe | Greek Moussaka Recipe
I love eggplant. This eggplant recipe are one of those things that speak to summer’s bounty. There are so many wonderful things to make with eggplant, but one of my favorite is Greek Moussaka. Moussaka is a lot like lasagna, but instead of noodles, slices of eggplant are layered in with a meat sauce and then it’s topped with a creamy béchamel sauce. It’s comforting, full of healthy vegetables, and topped with a decadent creamy layer or warm bubbly goodness. What’s also nice about this recipe is it’s easy. It can be quickly put together on a weeknight and makes a fabulous dinner.
This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetite but I have made some changes to the ingredients and process. If you would like to see the original recipe you can find it here. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/moussaka
Years ago when I would make moussaka I would fry the eggplant in olive oil. This process was messy and took forever to complete. Somewhere along the line I started laying out all my eggplant slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and brushing then with Olive Oil. I then bake all the pieces at once in the oven. This one alteration has changed this recipe from a chore to a a quick weeknight dinner.
This moussaka is a little bit lighter because we have skipped using a final layer of potatoes that are traditional moussaka recipes. It keeps the dish lower carb and in my opinion more summery. However if you would like to add a final layer of thinly sliced boiled potatoes you’re free to do so.
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Eggplant Recipe | Weeknight Moussaka
- 3 medium eggplants (about 3½ pounds total), sliced crosswise into 1/4 -inch-thick rounds
- 2 pounds ground lamb or beef
- 8 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed
- 1 cup plus extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 tsp cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon paprika hot or sweet
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¾ cup dry white wine (sub red wine)
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- Béchamel Ingredients
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2½ cups whole milk,
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 CPecorino or Parmesan, finely grated plus more for sprinkling on top
- 3 large egg yolks,
- Pre heat over to 410
- Step 1: Slice eggplant into 1/4 circles and lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to coat with olive oil, or drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the eggplant and season with salt.
- Bake in a 410 over until tender and edges are browning about 20-30 mins.
- Step 2: Prepare the filling but browning the ground meat. Add onions and garlic and cook. Once meat just starts to brown add salt, and spices. If your meat is very lean I suggest you add 1-2tbs of Olive oil.
- Once browned, add tomato paste and white wine. Cook a few minutes till alcohol smell has disappeared. Then add canned tomatoes and continue to simmer.
- Takes mixture and adjust spices as needed. Adding more salt if necessary.
- Step 3: Oil the bottom of a casserole or dutch oven and start layering your meat and eggplant mixture. Start with a layer of eggplant, then spread a layer of meat mixture on top and repeat finishing with a layer of eggplant.
- Note: some Moussaka dishes used potatoes as the final layer and if you would like to add them please feel free to do so. The potatoes will be the final top layer and the béchamel will will be poured atop the potatoes.
- Step 4: The Béchamel Sauce. We will need a sauce pan to make this classic French sauce. This sauce takes some patience and skill to come together. Here are a few key points.
- add the milk slowly to the rue to keep it smooth and lump free
- Add the egg yolks when the milk is warm but not hot, this will keep the yolks for scrambling in the sauce
- Be patient. It takes a while for the magic to happen and the sauce to thicken. It needs to be warm enough that the yolks start to cook and then the sauce will thicken. If you have been whisking for several minutes and it’s not happening, slowly increase the heat but avoid it simmering.
- Whisk whisk whisk! You have to continually keep whisking the sauce or it will not be a smooth silky texture.
- First melt 6 TSB of butter in the bottom of the sauce pan. Melt it on low heat and do not let it brown. Add the flour. This mixture is called a roux and is the base for many white sauces. Allow the roux to cook a 1-2 mins on the low med heat. This keep the sauce from tasting like raw flour.
- Next slowly add the milk and whisk. I add it in 1/3 at a time. Do not dump the milk in all at once or your sauce will become lumpy.
- Allow the sauce to warm before adding the egg yolks. Keep it on low heat and check the temperature with your finger. You want it just below a warm bath temperature.
- Once the milk is warm add your egg yolks while whisking continually. Continue to whisk as sauce heats and begins to thicken. If you have been waiting several minutes, gently increase the temperature of the heat and continue whisking. If your sauce is still not thickening add 1 tbs of flour and whisk.
- The sauce is a little temperamental and due to humidity you may have to adjust it slightly. If it is not thickening you can slowly add more flour 1 tbs at a time and wait before adding more. If the sauce is too thick add milk 1/8 C at a time, whisk and continue till you have the right consistency.
- Once you have the proper consistency, add in the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Lastly taste and adjust salt. I always salt at the end since the cheese is very salty I add it fist before the final seasoning. Add 1/4-1/2 tsp of white or black pepper.
- Step 4: Once the sauce is done pour it over the meat and eggplant layers. Bake at 375 for 30-45 min till golden and bubbly.
- If you have been baking for this time and the edges are bubbly but the béchamel hasn’t brown, you can broil it for a few minutes. Watch it closely it will burn quickly.
- After removing from the oven allow it to set for 15 or so minutes before serving.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves
© 2021 This recipe is prepared by Bonvivantfoodandwine.com