MOUSSAKA

MOUSSAKA (for eight)

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For the lamb and eggplant:

9 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1-1/4 pound ground lamb (finely chop leftover grilled or roasted lamb, the rarer the better, any crust or coating removed, or grind it in a food processor)

a rounded ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

a rounded ¼ teaspoon allspice

three 14 ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, drained (1-1/2 cups juice reserved) and chopped

1-1/2 teaspoons dried mint

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3-1/2 pounds medium eggplants, cut into 1/3 inch thick slices

 

For the topping:

2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1-1.2 cups whole milk

freshly ground black pepper

¼ pound feta, crumbled (scant 1 cup)

1 large egg, beaten with 1 large egg yolk

1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

 


 

1. Make the lamb and the eggplant. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the lamb, increase the heat to moderate, and cook, stirring and breaking up lumps, until lamb is no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and allspice. Add tomatoes, with reserved juice, mint and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a brisk simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Oil two baking sheets. Arrange eggplant slices in one layer on baking sheets, then lightly brush with 3 tablespoons oil. Broil about 4 inches from heat until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn eggplant slices over, lightly brush with remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and broil until golden brown and tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from broiler and reduce oven temperature to 400*.

3. Oil a 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, in dish. Spread lamb mixture evenly over eggplant and cover with remaining eggplant slices, slightly overlapping. (The moussaka can be assembled to this point 1 day ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then refrigerate, covered. Bring to room temperature, about 1 hour, before topping with sauce and cheese and baking).

4. Make the topping. Melt the butter in a 2-1/2 to 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes to make a roux. Add milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly, then bring to a boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking, for 3 minutes. Add feta and cook over low heat, whisking, until cheese is melted; do not let boil. Season sauce with pepper to taste and let cool, covered, for 5 minutes.

5. Add beaten egg mixture to sauce in a slow stream, whisking. Pour sauce evenly over eggplant and lamb mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan.

6. Bake moussaka in middle of oven until golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 

from The Gourmet Cookbook

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