Couple of months back,i borrowed a Greek cooking book from a friend of mine.As i was flipping through the book,i came across Moussaka.It has been in my to-make list for very very long time.So i finally decided to give it a try.
Moussaka is type of Greek Lasagna,just to give you a visual.Pasta is replaced by thin eggplant slices.I grew up with eggplants,we call it ‘brinjal’ in Indian english.My mom prepared it many ways and i like them all.But here is a challange,i am the only one in a family who likes it.I knew,i was making this meal with complete anticipation of rejection and yes they picked out the eggplants and ate the meat.I served it with pasta.
Looking back,there are couple of things,i would change about this dish,when i remake it.(not a matter of ‘if’)
- If you do not like eggplants at all,don’t make it.
- If you do dare make it, make sure, you slice the eggplants very very thin.I fall in this category 🙂
- Do not be lazy about roasting the eggplant, like i was.It needs to be thin and well roasted.If you skip this step,it will be picked out and eggplants leaves water as it cooks,if it is not well roasted.
- Replace eggplant with zucchini,if you rather prefer.
- Lamb and beef are the choice of filling,i stayed with chicken.You can even make it vegetarian by adding chick peas.You take a pick.
So,even if the dish wasn’t hit at our home,i will dare making it again with some adjustments.I think it is totally worth it.
Our kids are accustomed to asking where the dish is from?We talked about prosperous Greek history.As well as present day of economic turmoil.We prayed for wise leader for Greece.We prayed that gospel takes strong root in the heart of the greek people.
You can use this recipe as guideline,it has step by step pictorial description.Mine is adapted from “The Complete Book of Greek Cooking”.
- 2 Italian eggplants
- 1 Lb ground chicken
- 1/2 onion
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (15 Oz) can of tomato Puree
- 1/4 tsp Oregano
- handful of fresh parsley and Basil
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 egg whites
- 2 Tablespoon butter
- 2 Tablespoon Flour
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan plus more for topping
- 2 egg yolks
- salt and pepper
- Slice the Italian eggplants as thin as you can and sprinkle with salt.
- Let it sit for 20 mins.Wash the salt away.
- Meanwhile in a pot,add oil.Brown onion.
- Add chicken and cook it until it is no longer pink.
- Add tomato paste,tomato puree.
- Season it with salt,pepper and oregano.
- Let it cook for 15 mins.Take it out from the stove and let it sit for 15 mins.
- Meanwhile make white sauce.
- In a pot,add 2 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoon of flour.
- Stir it for 2-3 mins.
- Add milk,slowly and keep whisking the milk to flour butter mixture,as you add.
- Let it come to boil and simmer it down,until it is thick.
- Add parmesan cheese.
- Let it cool a bit.
Ready to assmble
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Add breadcrumbs,parsley,basil and egg whites to cook down meat mixture.
- Add egg yolks to cool down white sauce.
- Spray the 9 by 9 baking dish.
- Layer eggplant at the bottom of the dish.
- Spoon the meat mixture.
- Keep alternating it.
- Top it with white sauce.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 350F for 30 mins.
- If you want brown cheese top crust,raise the temperature to 400F. the last 5 mins of baking.
- Serve it with crusty bread or spaghetti or eat as it is.