It is still the rainy season in Northern CA which makes me want to cook soups, stews and braises. At about the same time a recipe arrived in my inbox from cuisineathome.com for moussaka, the ultimate yummy Greek casserole.
I used 1/2 the amount of meat and used ground lamb rather than ground beef and switched out whole milk for fat free milk to lighten up this dish with no ill effect. Feel free to use ground beef if you don't like lamb.
Moussaka my way
~12 ounces ground lamb
1 eggplant, cut off ends and cubed
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled, cores removed and pressed
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 ounces crushed tomatoes like Pomi
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bechamel my way
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups skim or fat free milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 tablespoons
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 quart oven proof casserole with butter or spray with cooking spray.
Brown ground lamb in non stick skillet, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain the fat from the pan. Add the eggplant, potato, onion, garlic, oregano and cinnamon and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the wine and cook uncovered until wine evaporates. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Let simmer until the juices evaporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan for the bechamel. Whisk in the flour, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Remove pan from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese and the nutmeg.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add some of the hot milk mixture. Add the egg mixture to the milk. Whisk until mixed.
Put the meat and vegetable mixture in the prepared dish. Pour the bechamel over the lamb mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and feta. Bake for about 45 minutes until bubbly and browned. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
This hit the spot on a cold (for CA) and rainy night with plenty of leftovers. We enjoyed it with the 2007 Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington. It was a great combo. Enjoy!