Prep 1 hr
Cook 2 hrs
From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Recipe of the week. I love moussaka! Something nostalgic about this dish for me - a childhood friend down the street was Greek & her Mom made an outstanding moussaka - always with lamb & something special in addition to the cinnamon - allspice & cloves...this one has 'em! Serve with tossed green salad & a chunk of warm bread for sopping up sauce - Mmmmmmm! *Kefalotiri is a salty sheep's- and goat's-milk cheese and is available at selected Greek markets & now many supermarkets.
- 2 -2 1⁄2 lbs eggplants, sliced lengthwise about 1/3-inch thick (3 medium or 2 large)
- 1 lb lean ground lamb or 1 lb lean ground beef
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus additional for greasing
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced (or pressed)
- 14 1⁄2 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste, heaping
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika, divided, rounded
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, rounded
- 3 whole cloves, ground in a mortar
- 3 allspice berries, ground in a mortar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 7 eggs, divided
- 1⁄2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1⁄2 cup fresh kefalotiri, grated
- Salt the eggplant slices generously and place them in a bowl or colander for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, cook the lamb (or beef) in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking up the meat 5 to 10 minutes until browned and the fat has rendered. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour off the fat. Set the meat aside in a bowl. Add a couple Tbsps. water to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits. Add the scrapings to the meat.
- Heat 2 Tbsps. olive oil in the skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute until fragrant.
- Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, the browned meat, 1/2 teaspoons paprika, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, sugar, bay leaf, salt and 1/2 to 1 cup hot water (enough to cover the meat). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. The mixture should be thick and fragrant. Cook, uncovered, 5 to 10 minutes until the liquid is almost gone.
- Remove the bay leaf, stir in pepper and remove from the heat. Taste and adjust for salt (remember, the eggplant will be salty).
- Cool the mixture slightly, then stir in one beaten egg and the parsley. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels. Place them on baking sheets brushed with olive oil and brush the tops with the remaining 2 Tbsps. olive oil. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
- Brush a 3-quart baking or gratin dish with the remaining oil. Make an even layer of half the eggplant over the bottom, and spread on all the meat sauce in one layer. Top with a layer of the remaining eggplant.
- Bake the moussaka 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Beat the remaining 6 eggs and mix them with the yogurt. Season with 3/4 teaspoons salt (or to taste), pepper and a pinch paprika. Pour over the moussaka.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the topping and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes, then place under the broiler 1 minute or until light golden brown on top. Watch carefully because it browns quickly. Serve warm.