Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Moussaka right back at ya!

Happy November!  I hope everyone had a nice and safe Halloween!

I found this great recipe for an easy moussaka which is basically a nice deviation on Sheppard’s pie, you add eggplant and cloves to the meat plus any vegetables that you like.  I added wilted dying broccoli, when baked into the casserole, it tasted great and added needed body and depth of flavor to the meat, plus something green!

I originally was attracted to this recipe because I was in the mood for Greek food, but this more turned out to be a cathartic way to clean out my fridge.  It’s not going to be the ultimate recipe for you to satisfy your Greek island desires, but a great way to use ground beef, veggies that are sitting in the fridge, while making a satisfying and different casserole.  A classic Sunday night dinner that reheats well for lunch.  As someone who often eats alone, I’ve definitely embraced the joy of leftovers.  That is something I learned from my dad, who never let anything go bad, and has happily eaten leftovers for lunch / dinner for the past umm, well, let’s just say a really long time!

Easy Moussaka
Adapted from a recipe on the NYTimes

2 medium eggplant (about 2 pounds), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes (or whatever you have around)
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound ground lamb (or beef)
1 very large onion, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks or ½ t ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons bread crumbs.

1. In a colander, toss the eggplant and 1 teaspoon salt. Drain in the sink for 15 minutes.

2. Heat oven to 450 degrees Toss the eggplant with the oil and spread on a large baking sheet. Roast, turning occasionally, until golden and tender, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.

3. Bring 6 cups water, the potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes; drain and return potatoes to the warm pot. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolk. Mash potatoes with milk-egg mixture, 1/2 cup cheese, butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  You want the potatoes extra creamy (I actually used half and half this time, so awesome!)

4. In a very large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the lamb or (beef), breaking it up with a fork as it cooks. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Push the meat to one side of the skillet and spoon off all but a thin layer of fat from the skillet. Add the onions and cinnamon sticks to the skillet. Cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir the lamb back into the onions and add the garlic and ground clove. Cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are soft and the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in the eggplant.

5. Spoon into a 9-inch baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the lamb. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until top is golden brown and slightly crusty, about 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.

COMING UP: Every Thursday, for the next three weeks, we will be posting Thanksgiving recipes!  This week, PIE, PIE, and well more PIE! 

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