This week I’ve been on the ball when it comes to dinner for the family. I made this eggplant and beef moussaka the night before while roasting chicken drumsticks. Double duty turned into a triple workload for the oven, I also made more rhubarb crumble for dessert. Now all I have to do is heat and serve! Hopefully this well-timed use of a hot oven will help conserve energy. What I really want is an outdoor wood stove or oven to bake hearth breads and real pizza, but that’s a whole other topic.
Inspired by Sandra-Lee on Food Network, I baked the eggplant slices for 10 minutes before using them like lasagna noodles to build the final dish. The Chinese (Asian) eggplants were cheap at the market, so I bought 3 of them instead of the large black-ish purple eggplants which tend to be the most bitter. Rosa Bianca heirlooms that I buy from AngelValleyFarms are not ready yet (and I hope they plan to have a new crop this season!)
Adapted from this version by Sandra-Lee
- 1 lb lean ground beef (vegetarians, you could replace this with Portobello mushrooms)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 tsp Greek seasoning (I used Victorian Epicure’s Greek blend)
- 1/2 tsp marjoram, fresh or dried
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon, or less, I was skeptical of using this much let alone the 1/2 tsp the original recipe calls for!
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
Brown the meat or diced mushrooms, add the onion and spices along with a good pinch of salt.
Drain any excess fat or oil. Stir in all but a 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce. Set aside.
Coat the bottom of a 8″x8″ casserole dish with the reserved sauce.
- 3 Chinese eggplants
- salt and pepper
Brush and season both sides then pop them in the oven (375ºF) for 10 minutes or just until tender.
Set aside to cool while you prepare the béchamel sauce.
See my previous post for making this creamy white sauce.
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Add half the beef or mushroom mixture and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle a handful (or two) of grated mozzarella.
Layer the remaining eggplant slices and arrange them to cover the cheese.
Add the remaining beef or mushrooms. Pour the béchamel sauce on top and add more mozzarella if you like,
I love cheese so this step was not skipped in the least! Bake (375ºF) for about 30 minutes until the sauce bubbles and the cheese is lightly browned.
Or let it cool, cover with foil and hide it in the back of the fridge, complete with greens as camouflage. If your guise was successful, simply warm and serve.