My moussaka recipe is based on traditional Greek moussaka, except that I use beef or even ground venison instead of lamb (feel free to use lamb instead of beef for some or all of the ground beef if you prefer). I also simplify assembly by making only one thick meat layer sandwiched between two layers of eggplant. But you can use 2 eggplants instead of 1 if you want more, thinner meat layers with more eggplant between them.
One last note: As with pretty much any Greek moussaka, this recipe does take some time to prepare and cook (a good 2 hours total time, maybe longer) so plan accordingly. On the plus side, you can refrigerate leftovers to serve at future meals.
1 large eggplant, peeled & cut lengthwise (not in circles) about 1/4" thick
Olive oil spray (or olive oil for brushing on baking pans & the eggplant)
Salt & ground pepper to taste
|Interior view after cutting a slice|
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, sliced very thin
1 1/2 lb ground beef*
1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 large bay leaves
1 large cinnamon stick
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1 1/2 cups warm** milk (I use low-fat)
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground pepper (I use a 3-peppercorn blend of white, black and pink peppercorns)
1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
*I used naturally-raised 100% grass-fed beef, which is very lean. If you use conventional ground beef, you may need to drain off excess fat after browning.
**I warmed the milk in my microwave oven. Regardless of how you warm it, make sure the milk does not boil!
Spray or brush olive oil on 2 large shallow baking sheets and a 9"x12x2" baking dish (or similar dimensions). Preheat oven to 375°F, spray or brush eggplant slices on both sides with olive oil and place in single layer on the baking sheets. Season to taste with salt & pepper, then bake until golden and lightly browned, turning once to brown both sides. Remove from oven and place eggplant slices on paper towels to absorb excess oil and moisture.
Heat 2 Tbs olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet and saute the onion & garlic until soft and translucent. Add ground beef and brown the beef, stirring regularly to break up clumps of meat. Once the beef is browned, drain off any excess fat, add the tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves & cinnamon, season with salt & pepper to taste, stir to combine, then reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beef is fully cooked.
|Ready for a second layer of eggplant (first is beneath the meat layer)|
Note: If using 2 eggplants because you want more than 1 layer of beef, then spoon only a portion of the beef over first layer of eggplant, cover it with a second layer of eggplant slices, then repeat with more beef & eggplant, finishing with a top layer of eggplant.
|Ready to bake|
|Resting before cutting|
Remove from oven, let sit 10 minutes, then cut and serve. Makes 6 servings.