We had a big thunderstorm last night. Lightning and pouring rain. I sat in bed with Merlin (my cat) with the windows open. He didn’t even flinch with each lightning strike as the storm got closer then washed over us. Today? sunny, clear and cool. Spring on the coast means unpredictable weather.
I had a large Eggplant in the fridge and had planned on making into my Teriyaki Eggplant on steamed rice then I remembered that my sister had made a Mousaka years ago. I’ve never made it so I figured I’d give it a try tonight.
Mousaka is basically Lasagna but instead of noodles, you use sliced Eggplant. I made my Mousaka Vegetarian but I’ll write the original recipe and the Vegetarian substitutions I used as a note next to each ingredient.
Serves 4 – 6
- 1 – 2 large eggplants sliced not too thick (but not too thin lol) about 3 or 4 cm
- Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 cups ground beef or lamb (I used St Yves Vegan Ground round- 1 block)
- 1/4 cup red wine ( I used 1/4 cup of mushroom broth)
- 1 jar of good spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 cup beef broth/stock (I used Vegetable broth)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- salt to taste
- Optional spices: I used Onion powder, garlic powder and paprika
- 4 Tbsp of butter
- 3 Tbsp plain flour (or coconut flour for wheat/gluten/grain free diet) Add more or less depending on how thick you want it.
- 2 cups of milk (I used Almond milk)
- 2 pinches of powdered nutmeg
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Panko or Plain Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup of Mozzarella Cheese
- Sprinkle salt on both sides of sliced Eggplant and place slightly overlapping in a large colander.
- I left them to sweat for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make Meat Sauce and Béchamel Sauce.
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- After 30 minutes, pat eggplant dry with paper towel – make sure to do this well to remove water and salt. Lay on parchment paper lined tray and brush the tops with olive oil.
- Bake 15 – 20 minutes until lightly browned and softened . Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic and onion and saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the beef /lamb and cook until it browns. If you use Vegan Ground round like I did, add the wine or mushroom broth (below) first then add the ground round as it doesn’t need to be “cooked” like meat does (just warmed)
- Add wine (or Mushroom broth) and cook until alcohol smell is gone: 1-2 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce.
- Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
- Keep whisking and slowly add the milk (or almond milk). Stir regularly for 3 to 5 minutes or until it thickens well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from the stove and whisk in cheese & nutmeg
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then whisk the egg in.
- Lower oven to 350F
- Place half the eggplant in the bottom of a baking dish then top with all the Filling (meat sauce).
- Top with remaining eggplant, then pour over the Béchamel Sauce, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. I broiled it for 3 minutes to create a golden crust Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Wonderful with a big chunk of garlic toast.
Until next time.