Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Meaty Moussaka

First of all, let me just say: holy deliciousness.
This is a perfect food for today in nyc: it's cold and rainy and dark in a way that is made better only by rainboots and a warm, luscious, layered meal with a hunk of bread. Oh, and tea. Ok, fine, also wine.

Sautee a med onion (chopped pretty small) in about 1 T olive oil add a couple of cloves of garlic minced and then about 3/4 lb. of ground meat (lamb or beef--preferably organic). Add one 28 oz can of plum tomatoes (drain and reserve 3/4 C. juice, chop tomatoes). Add 1/4 t. cinnamon and same of allspice if you have it (i did not). S/P to taste. simmer until thickened slightly, apx. 20 min. (i added a bit of wine).

Slice an eggplant (apx. 2 lbs.) into 1/3" slices. Line up on the counter and salt generously. cover in paper towels and layer some pots and pans on them to squeeze out the moisture. Eggplants have too much water. When you squeeze it out you make the eggplant less mushy and bland and more delish. let them sit for 10 min or so then wipe off with a damp cloth.
You are suppose to brush with olive oil and broil on both sides. My broiler, it turns out, was being used as a playground for my mice friends. gross. I mean really. So gross. So no broiler. I roasted at 500* for apx 5 min on each side on an oiled baking sheet.

now. oil a pan or two. i did two so that i can freeze one. layer eggplant on the bottom, spoon on the meat sauce, add another layer of eggplant. Set aside. Heat oven to 400*.

You can follow N's recipe for bechamel. Mine is only slightly different:
Make a roux with 2.5T. butter (melt in pan) add 3.5T. flour + whisk for 3 min. Add 1.5 C. whole milk whisking constantly. Allow to boil and then reduce heat whisking constantly for apx 3min or until slightly thickened. add 1/4 lb (4 oz) crumbled feta and keep whisking. Add s/p. turn off heat and let sit for 5 min. Start whisking again while adding 1 egg + 1 yolk (beaten well) in a slow stream. Whisk until well combined. The egg gives the bechamel a little lift when it bakes. It makes it otherworldly.

Spoon sauce over layers and then top with a couple T.'s of parm.

Bake 30 min. until bubbly and starting to turn golden.