I’m sure many of you have eaten, or at least heard of this eggplant casserole known as Moussakka. It’s great any time of year, but certainly when eggplant can be picked fresh from garden, or bought at the farmer’s market. This recipe comes from my mother. I have a piece of yellow ruled paper in my recipe box with her hand writing. It probably originated from a newspaper clipping or magazine. I remember she had a entire kitchen drawer full of clippings from various newspapers, all recipes.
Eggplant Casserole – Moussakka
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that my father was Lebanese, so even though I think of this as a Greek dish, it has similar middle eastern flavors. We always had this dish served with rice. I’m not sure if that is a Greek thing, or just my family. Rice was served all the time at my house growing up. Did you notice how golden yellow it is? That’s because we always add turmeric to the water before the rice boils. It think traditionally they used saffron, but it is so expensive. Turmeric is a good substitute. It’s easy to find in the grocery store, and lately I’ve notice a lot of talk about turmeric being great for reducing inflammation in the body.
My mom’s recipe calls for the eggplant to be cut lengthwise, but I’m sure I’ve seen it in rounds. I think either way would work.
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Here’s what it looks like straight from the oven. This is a standard 11 x 13 baking dish, so, like lasagna, it will serve a lot of people. Especially when you serve it with rice. And, yes, it’s probably one of my favorite leftover dishes. It reheats really well and keeps for days.
A little toss salad and you have a very hearty delicious meal. It’s great for entertaining too. Bring it to a pot luck party.
In my family this would be something you would even see at the holidays served next to the turkey or at Easter next to the lamb or ham.
Enjoy. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 large eggplants peeled and sliced lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1½ pounds of ground beef
- 1 - 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of dried basil
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large 29 oz can of tomato sauce
- Cream Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- Peel and slice eggplant.
- Brush olive oil and sprinkle salt on both sides and place under broiler
- Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove and save for later
- Saute onion in a large skillet for a few minutes.
- Add garlic and beef stirring until browned.
- Add oregano, basil, cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir.
- Add tomato sauce and and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- In a separate saucepan melt butter.
- Remove from heat and whisk in flour, salt and pepper
- Gradually add the milk, stirring with wire whisk.
- Place saucepan back on the stove and bring to a boil, stirring until thick.
- Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl beat 2 eggs.
- Add a small amount of hot cream sauce to eggs and stir.
- Add egg mixture to cream mixture and stir.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Use 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
- Spray with vegetable oil.
- Layer half of the eggplant overlapping if necessary.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan and cheddar cheese on top.
- Pour all of the meat sauce on top of the eggplant spread evenly.
- Sprinkle 2 additional tablespoons of the Parmesan and cheddar on top of the meat sauce.
- Layer the remaining eggplant.
- Pour the cream sauce on top and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake uncovered for 35-49 minutes.