Saturday, July 3, 2010

No, It's Not the Dad in That Lion Movie

Funny name, yummy stuff.  Moussaka apparently means casserole in Greek.  I suppose that's fitting, if not very romantic.  Either way, this is comfort food and I happen to love it.  Our favorite little Greek place, The Greek Corner, makes a moussaka with eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes.  I don't have eggplant in my garden, so my version uses just zucchini and potatoes.

Zucchini and Potato Moussaka

1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce or 1 can tomato paste (6 oz) plus 2 TBS water
1 cup of bread crumbs (I used sourdough since I have a lifetime supply in the freezer from many failed attempts at no knead sourdough bread)
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
2 zucchinis, sliced thin (or 1 big honking know, the one you should have picked yesterday)
2 large potatoes, sliced thin
sea salt to taste
optional:  parmesan cheese for sprinkling in between layers

For the white sauce:

1/2 cup + 2 TBS butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cups milk

Cook ground beef and onions in a skillet until done.  I used organic grass fed beef and wouldn't think of draining it.  Salt to taste.  Add your tomato sauce or paste and water (I actually used a cup of peeled, pureed tomatoes from the garden), 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, and cinnamon.  This part is really important; cook your meat sauce on low until all of the liquid is absorbed.  You won't want to cut corners here because moussaka should be fairly firm.  You should be able to get a perfect square of it onto your plate, so you don't want a liquid-y meat layer.  I was afraid that leaving the fat in would be counterproductive to that end, but it worked out fine; I'm sure the crumbs helped.  Cooking until the liquid is absorbed will take a while.

In the meantime, salt and lightly brown the zuke slices in a buttered skillet.  Set aside until you're ready to assemble the casserole.  You have two options with the potatoes; you can either brown them the way you did with the zucchini or you may slice them and put them in cold water until you're ready to use them.  I didn't brown mine because I was in a hurry and it turned out delish...I'm sure it would be great browned, too (don't forget to salt them, either way).

For the white sauce, melt butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour.  Cook and stir until it's kind of bubbly, but make sure not to brown it.  Stir in the salt and then slowly pour in the milk while still stirring.  Cook and stir until it's nice and thick.

Layer components in a buttered casserole dish with a light sprinkling of bread crumbs between each layer.  The layers go like this:  zucchini on the bottom, then meat, potatoes, and finally, white sauce.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.  Traditionally, the moussaka would be allowed to cool for at least a half hour or so.  This lends to the hold-togetherness of the end product, too (yes, I realize I just made up a word).  It would still be delicious served hot from the oven, though...just be careful not to burn your mouth ; )

This is part of Tuesday Twister over at GNOWFGLINS!

No comments:

Post a Comment