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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Athena's Moussaka (Greek Eggplant Casserole)

Athena's Moussaka (Eggplant Casserole) (Recipe from the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Annunciation in Atlanta, GA from a Greek Festival in the 1980s.)

1 large eggplant
salt as needed
4-5 T. cooking oil

Slice into 1/4 in. rounds, don't peel. Salt each round lightly and stack in colander with paper towel and weight for 3 hrs. to extract liquid. Rinse in cold water and dry with paper towels. Brown in oil on both sides-drain on paper towels.

Meat Filling

1 T. butter
1 diced large onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 c. tomato sauce
1 t. sugar
1 T. wine vinegar
3 T. red wine
1 bay leaf crumbled
1 T. parsley chopped
1/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

In large skillet, saute onion and garlic until golden, add meat and brown, breaking up with a fork. Pour off excess fat. Stir in liquids and seasonings. Simmer over low heat until liquid is absorbed.

Bechamel Sauce

1/4 c. butter
3 T flour
1 C. milk
1 C. heavy cream
1 t. salt
1/8 t. white pepper
dash nutmeg
2 eggs well beaten
Romano, grated for topping

Melt butter, still in flour, add milk and cream, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and smooth. Mix in seasonings. Add sauce to eggs, beating well. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture is very thick. Do not boil. Cool.
arrange half of eggplant over bottom of 9 x 12 in. baking dish, spread meat filling evenly over eggplant. Cover with remaining eggplant. Pour bechamel sauce evenly over top, sprinkle with Romano cheese. Bake in preheated 325 oven for 45 min. or until golden. Cool slightly before serving. Serves 8 to 12.

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