February 14, 2012

Moussaka


Happy Valentines Day! I hope that everyone found a way to celebrate today. I decided to be festive by cooking a delicious, comforting meal...

I had never had Moussaka before tonight. I really enjoy Greek cuisine, but never quite get brave enough to go out on a limb and try big new things... that, and I don't particularly care for lamb, the meat that Moussaka is often made with.

But then, along came Martha Stewart. A few weeks ago, while planning out the weekly menu for our house, (which has become a MUST do in order to stay sane), I stumbled upon a Martha Stewart recipe for a "Quick Moussaka"... I quickly ran down the list of ingredients, and couldn't wait to dig in!! Eggplant, onion, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, parsley... and since I was making it myself- beef instead of lamb. Tonight, I finally got the chance to try out her recipe... and I'm in love! I will definitely be making this again and again!!

Quick Moussaka
Martha Stewart- Serves 4


Butter, for baking dish*
1 large eggplant (2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
7 tbsp. olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef or lamb*
1 28oz can whole tomatoes, drained*
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup (9oz) ricotta cheese, room temperature*
3/4 cup (4oz) feta cheese, room temperature*
1 large egg, room temperature

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a 4-quart ovenproof dish. On a baking sheet, toss eggplant with 6 tbsp oil and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer, and roast in the oven until soft and golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer eggplant to prepared dish, spreading in an even layer.

In a large saucepan, warm remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ground meat; cook, stirring to prevent sticking, until meat is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in drained tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Simmer, crushing tomatoes with the edge of spoon, 15 minutes. Spread the mixture evenly over the eggplant.

Heat broiler. In a small bowl, mix ricotta, feta, egg, 1/8 tsp pepper and a pinch of salt. Pour mixture over the casserole, and spread evenly to the edges. Broil until topping is browned in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.

*My Notes: Instead of butter, I used cooking spray- it worked well, and cut a little of the fat. I loved it with beef, but will probably also try this recipe with ground turkey, or even tofu crumbles. Instead of whole tomatoes, I accidentally used a 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes- it saved me a step, and the consistency and taste was still excellent. To cut fat, I used part skim/reduced fat cheeses for the topping.

This dish was fabulous!! It was a little bit of a pain to peel the eggplant, but completely worth it. I wouldn't really call this recipe "quick" (eg. not good for your typical weeknight on the fly dinner), but overall, its an easy recipe. I'm not sure how the flavors compare with traditional Moussaka, but I'm curious to find out... Has anyone out there tried a few different versions and willing to let me know what you think?!?

1 comment:

  1. Update: Anyone trying this recipe- it will definitely serve more than 4!! It's a very hearty dish, and if you serve it with a side salad or other veggie, you could serve 8. Served alone, we got 6 meals out of it! Enjoy :-)

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