Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Moussaka (vegetarian)


Moussaka is a traditional Greek pie/casserole made with lamb, eggplant, cheese and 2 sauces (tomato and a white sauce).  The tomato sauce, in typical Greek style is laced with oregano and cinnamon. 

I found this recipe many years ago, in a fundraising cookbook, "For Good Sports and Other Cooks," published in 1975 by the Denver Chapter of the American-Israeli Lighthouse Rehabilitation Center. A dear departed college friend, who was a fantastic cook, gave it to me when I was visiting him in Denver. The recipe, as I prepare it, has morphed a bit over the years.   The cookbook was highly innovative for a "Jewish" cookbook at the time in that there were many recipes of an "international" nature. The cookbook is not kosher, but nevertheless I have, over the years, found plenty of recipes to try (and love). 

The recipe is not complicated and I'm planning to share it at a bridal shower where guests have been asked to bring a recipe or two for the young couple. 

There are four components: 2 sauces, sliced eggplant and shredded/grated cheese. 

Equipment:
knife, slicer, casserole dish (I used a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish), saucepan, measuring spoons and cups. 

Ingredients:
2 eggplant, peeled and sliced (best, but not required to slice and a dry a few hours prior to cooking)

Quick Tomato Sauce:
2-3 Tbsp olive oil 
2 medium onions, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 - 8oz can of tomato sauce (I use Muir Glen)
1- 4 oz can tomato paste plus 4-6 oz water
1 - 8oz package vegetarian "crumbles" (I use Morningstar Farms)
S&P to taste 
1/2- 1 tsp each: oregano , basil, ground cinnamon 

White Sauce:
2-3 Tbsp butter
2-3 Tbsp flour
2 c whole milk or 1c half & half and 1c skim milk
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch salt

Cheese:
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2- 3/4 c grated cheese (e.g. Colby, Edam, Gouda)

Procedure:
1. Make the tomato sauce by sauteing onions until translucent, add garlic and continue to saute for another few minutes.
2. Add the crumbles, tomato paste, water and tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add the spices and herbs, add a bit of water if needed to keep the sauce thick and smooth. Cover and cook an additional 10-15 minutes.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Heat oven to 350 degree.
6. Grease the baking pan. Take eggplant slices and make a single layer covering the bottom of the pan. Spoon sauce over the eggplant, covering in a thin layer. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and shredded cheese over the sauce.
7. Repeat to make a 2nd layer on top of the first. If you have eggplant slices, lay on top of layer two.
8. Prepare the white sauce by melting the butter, stirring in the flour and spices and cook for a minute or two. Stir and add milk. Simmer and stir until it bubbles and thickens.
9. Pour over the eggplant. Place in oven and bake approximately 45 minutes until very bubbly and browned on top.

Serves 4 amply.

Enjoy!