This version of the Greek style recipe Moussaka includes layers of fried eggplant, fried potatoes, a red wine meat sauce and topped with a Goat Cheese Béchamel Sauce and then baked. There are lots of steps involved and lots of pans and dishes to be cleaned while cooking it but in the end, it is worth it. I think what differentiates Moussaka from lets say an Eggplant Lasagna, is the use of Nutmeg & Cinnamon in the recipe. Gives it a whole new taste and it is fabulous. So glad I finally made my first Moussaka.
As an aside, give yourself a break and cook the potatoes and eggplants the day before you are serving the dish. This way you won't cry over pots, pans & dishes to clean. It really breaks it up and keeps it simple.
First thing, slice the eggplants and salt them so that it will pull the water right out of them. Do this first so that by the time the potatoes are done, the eggplants have done sweating. Now rinse the slices in cold water and let them drain on paper towels.
Next, I started with peeling and slicing up 3 medium sized potatoes and frying them in Canola oil.
Once the potatoes were done, in went the sliced eggplants. Make sure you dab as much oil off the eggplants as possible. Turn the cooked pieces over and dab some more. I put them in the tupperware overnight with plastic wrap between the layers.
I put these cooked potatoes and cooked eggplants in the fridge overnight. This cut down the work for the next day putting the Moussaka together.
Next morning, I made the Meat Sauce, complete with onions, garlic, tomato paste, tomato sauce and red wine plus seasonings.
And then the Bobby Flay's Bechamel Sauce which included a whole lemon zested, bay leaf, nutmeg and Goat Cheese.
Cooking done. Time to assemble.
Bottom layer is the fried potatoes
Second layer is half of the eggplants.
Adding 5 Tablespoons of Bechamel to the Meat Sauce before layering
Third layer Meat Sauce
Fourth layer the other half of the eggplants
Fifth layer the Bechamel Sauce.
Sixth layer is the Parmesan Cheese
45 Minutes on 360 for 45 minutes
3 medium – large eggplants
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 pounds minced beef
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
9 oz. Tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon thyme
Vegetable oil for frying
Bobby Flay's Bechamel Sauce:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup soft goat cheese
1 cup grated Romano
1 lemon, zested
1. Prepare the vegetables: slice the eggplants into 1 inch thick. Season with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile peel the potatoes and slice them.
2. Wash the eggplants well and pat them dry. Fry the eggplants and potatoes until golden. Transfer to a paper towel to get rid of access oil.
3. Prepare the meat mixture: heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add crushed garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes more.
4. Add the meat and cook, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink. And salt, pepper, cinnamon and thyme, stir well. Add tomato paste and stir. Add bay leaf, tomato sauce and stir well. Add red wine, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes covered. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Prepare Bobby Flay's béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and bay leaf and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and discard the bay leaf. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, goat cheese, and lemon zest and whisk into the béchamel sauce until smooth.
6. Preheat oven to 365F
7. Assemble the moussaka: Add 4-5 tablespoons of the béchamel sauce to the meat mixture and mix. Layer the potatoes in a 13"X 8.5" ovenproof dish, then layer half of the eggplants. Pour the meat mixture and spread evenly. Layer the remaining eggplants and pour the béchamel sauce. Grate 1 cup of Romano on top.
8. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 45 minutes before cutting.
I made some Parmesan Cheese Straws on the side to go with our Salad.