Lamb Moussaka

Lamb moussaka is a Greek dish made of layered eggplant, ground lamb and a thick white sauce. It’s amazing. I know I say that about most of the things I post, but I’ve only been at this for a few months so I’m still working my way through my favorites. And by that, I mean my mom is still working her way through my favorites. Check back in a year or so for some really mediocre stuff. Just kidding. It won’t take that long.

Anyway, this recipe calls for quite a few ingredients, but don’t let that fool you. Moussaka is remarkably easy to make.

First, cut three eggplants into 1/2 inch slices, sprinkle them with salt and allow them to drain for about thirty minutes. This gets rid of a lot of the excess liquid in the eggplant, which tends to be a little bitter. It also ensures that the moussaka won’t be too sloppy. No one likes a sloppy moussaka.

While the eggplant is draining, you can make the lamb filling. First, melt butter in a heavy pan and saute chopped shallots until soft. Then, add the ground lamb, breaking it up with a fork, and cook for about eight minutes, or until browned.

This bit is important. Once the meat is well-browned, drain it to get rid of the excess fat. I was going to post a photo of all the fat that this step removed, but then you would probably stop reading and I wouldn’t want that to be your last memory of moussaka. So, just trust me on this one. Drain the meat.

Once drained, return the lamb to the pan and add canned tomatoes, chives, wine, lemon juice, sage, pepper, allspice and salt. Cook for another two minutes, remove from heat, and add tomato paste and breadcrumbs. Mix it up.

By now, the eggplant should have lost a lot of water.

Rinse it under the tap and drain on paper towels.

Then, heat up some oil in a pan, dip the eggplant in flour and shake off the excess, and saute for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and soft.

Now, put on your lasagna hat and arrange 1/3 of the eggplant in the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan and cover with 1/2 of the meat.

Now take off the hat (it’s weird), smooth the meat layer with a spatula and cover with another third of the eggplant. Then, cover that layer with the remaining meat, smooth it over, and top off with the rest of the eggplant.

It should look like this.

In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, egg yolks, half and half, salt, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese.

Pour this mixture over the moussaka and bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

It should look like this.

Cut yourself a nice, big slice and serve with Greek salad. It should look like this.

Side note: if a photograph is snapped of you catching the bouquet at a wedding, it should not look like this. Another side note: I love these photographers. If you have a wedding coming up, you should think about using them. You should also think about inviting me.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggplants
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 oz. flour
  • 3/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter
  • 6 shallots or 2 small onions
  • 1 1/2 lb. lean ground lamb
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped chives
  • 3 oz. red wine
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 3 tbsp. tomato puree
  • 3 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 9 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 1/4 c. half and half
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 3 oz. finely grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant, sprinkle with salt and drain for 30 minutes
  2. Rinse and dry on paper towels
  3. Heat oil in pan over medium heat
  4. Dip eggplant slices in flour, shake off excess, and saute until soft and brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side
  5. Drain on paper towels
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  7. In a large pan, melt butter, 2 oz. and saute shallots until soft
  8. Add ground lamb, breaking it up with fork and cook for 8 minutes, or until well browned
  9. Drain to get rid of excess fat and return to pan
  10. Add canned tomatoes, chives, wine, lemon juice, sage, pepper, allspice and salt
  11. Cook 2 minutes and remove from heat
  12. Add breadcrumbs and tomato paste
  13. In a separate bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, egg yolks, half and half, salt, nutmeg and Parmesan cheese
  14. Assemble moussaka: arrange 1/3 of eggplant in a 9×13 inch baking dish and cover with half of the lamb mixture
  15. Smooth mixture out with spatula
  16. Add 1/3 of eggplant and cover with the remaining lamb mixture. Smooth it out again, you know the drill
  17. Arrange remaining eggplant over meat mixture and pour white sauce over the top
  18. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown
  19. Eat it. Opa!

Fiona

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