Scott doesn’t think that I know how to make a casserole like a normal Midwesterner, but its not so much that I don’t know how to make a casserole, or like casseroles...its just that it seems silly to make a casserole for just one or two people. To prove Scott wrong, I made moussaka last night. I think I need to make casseroles more often, because even though this recipe took a long time I think I will be enjoying it for lunch/ breakfast all week.
I’ve always thought of moussaka like a greek lasagna, with no pasta...of course until last night I had never made either. You usually layer potatoes with eggplant and ground lamb and top it with a béchamel sauce. The recipe I used came from one of my favorite cookbooks, Simply Slow Cooking by Joanne Glynn. I substituted the lamb with ground beef...because I’m a student and so I don’t really have funding for lamb. The recipe took 5 hours to make but was not labor intensive, it mostly just simmered away and cooked itself. The bell peppers and currents were an exciting addition, and I think I prefer this with the yogurt topping instead of the béchamel...it wasn’t quiet so rich and so I felt a little healthier eating it. Scott and I both enjoyed it very much and it looked pretty and golden on top.
We had the moussaka with a greek tomato and cucumber salad which was light and fresh. For the salad I simply chunked two tomatoes, a cucumber and half a yellow onion. I then drizzled the salad with olive oil, and sprinkled the salad with olives and feta. The salad is fresh and bright, it worked well with the moussaka.
1 c olive oil
1 lg yellow bell peppers, finely chopped
2 lbs ground lamb
2 lg onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 lbs can chopped tomatoes
2 1/2 oz currants
2 lbs eggplant cut into thin slices
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled
4 Tbsp grated kefolotyri or parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 lbs Greek-style yogurt
2 eg yolks
5 1/2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Add the bell pepper and cook until soft, remove from the pan and reserve. Add the lamb to the pan, brown.
Add the onions and garlic and cook for another 10 min. Stir in the nutmeg and allspice and cook for 1 min. Add the wine, tomatoes and currants. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Stir occasionally, adding a little water as needed. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle with a little olive oil and grill the eggplant slices until golden. Reserve. Bring a pot of water to boil with potatoes. Continue simmering for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse and thinly slice the potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 325*F and grease a 12x8x2 in casserole. Cover the bottom of the dish with an overlapping layer of the potato slices. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle 2T of the kefolotyri over the top. Arrange a layer of half the eggplant slices over this. Stir the parsley into the lamb and spread half over the eggplant followed by a layer of the bell pepper. Spread the remaining lamb over this, cover with foil and bake for 2 hours.
Beat the yogurt and egg yolks together until smooth. Gently spread over the moussaka, completely covering the surface. Layer the remaining eggplant slices over this and sprinkle with the remaining kefalotyri. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the surface. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for 30 min or until the top is beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 min.