Food Recipe

August Moussaka

Ingredients —

Meat sauce

½ large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds ground beef
1 cup ground/puréed tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ tablespoon salt
¼ tablespoon pepper

Béchamel sauce

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk, warmed
½ cup grated myzithra cheese (Parmigiano works as well)
2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
½ tablespoon salt
¼ tablespoon pepper
4 egg yolks

Instructions —

To assemble:

9x9 inch pan
2 large Italian, Sicilian or graffiti eggplants (about a pound each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon salt
¼ tablespoon pepper

For the Meat sauce:

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add beef and continue to cook until no longer pink. Carefully drain the fat from the pan. Return to heat and add the tomato purée, wine and cinnamon and simmer for 30 minutes, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve until ready to assemble the moussaka. (This can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.)

For the Béchamel sauce:

In a heavy pot, melt butter on medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook, stirring with a spoon, until the mixture turns lightly golden. Slowly add the milk while continuing to stir. Once all the milk has been incorporated, add the cheese and nutmeg and bring to a light simmer, all the while stirring so that the sauce does not burn on the bottom. Once it reaches a simmer take the pan off the heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a large heat-proof bowl. Temper them by adding ¼ cup of the hot sauce, stirring vigorously. Slowly stir in the rest of the sauce, then return the mixture to the pot and keep warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assembling:

Preheat oven to 400˚F or use a grill. Cut the top and bottoms off the eggplant and discard. Slice the eggplant into ¼-inch rounds and toss in a bowl with oil, salt and pepper. If using a grill, grill slices for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until fork tender. If using the oven, roast for 20 to 25 minutes until fully cooked. Place half of the cooked eggplant on the bottom on the 9x9 pan. Spread the meat sauce over the eggplant, then top with the remaining eggplant. Pour the béchamel sauce over and place the pan in the preheated oven. Lower the temperature to 350˚F and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top of the béchamel begins to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 45 minutes. That way, the béchamel will begin to firm up and make it much easier to serve. Provencher likes to pour a xinomavro from Naoussa alongside, like Thymiopoulos Young Vines.

This recipe first appeared in W&S August 2016.
 photo by Felicia Peretti

Related Stories & Reviews


News & Features

The Third Wave: Taverna Khione

by Tara Q. Thomas