Thursday, March 8, 2018

RECIPE: Easy Moussaka with Eggplant and Potato

We're had a massive snowstorm last night and I wanted comfort food so I made moussaka using as many home-preserved ingredients as possible to reduce the amount of prep work that moussaka normally requires.  I'm posting it knowing that most people won't have these ingredients now, but I hope it will motivate you to preserve them next summer. 

In the photo below you see some of the ingredients I used...canned tomatoes and lamb, frozen onions and eggplant, and potatoes from the farm store...and you can see the baking dish I first chose was way too small.  I used a bigger one, a 9x13 oval, and even that was too small!  Next time I'll use 10x14 oval.  A 9x13 rectangular pan would have been perfect.

Biodynamic Ingredients
Moussaka is a Greek dish made with ground lamb, tomatoes, a cheesy white sauce, and a vegetable - either eggplant, zucchini, or potatoes.  I've always made it with both eggplant and potatoes, and it's delicious that way (even though I don't normally eat potatoes).  Using home-prepared ingredients did reduce the amount of work, but moussaka is always a labor-intensive endeavor!

Easy Eggplant and Potato Moussaka

1.5 pounds ground lamb, home canned (i.e. cooked and tender)
1.5 c peeled tomatoes, home canned, drained (reserve juice for another use)
1.5 c. fresh breadcrumbs (3/4 cups dry)
1 large onion sauteed in ghee, lard, tallow, or EVCO
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 t. Himalayan pink salt
3 T. chopped parsley
1/4 t. cayenne
1/4 t. ground allspice
1.5 t.* Vietnamese cinnamon (Ceylon is too subtle, if you use it, you will need 3 t.)
2 medium potatoes
5 Japanese (long) eggplants, roasted in their skins
3 T. ghee
3 T. flour
1.5 c milk
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1.5 c cheese (I used quark but you can use grated hard cheese if you prefer)
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 t. salt

9 x 13 rectangular baking pan (or 10x14 oval), bottom and sides greased with ghee
11 x 17 jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet wrapped in foil

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise (creating the thinnest halves possible so they cook quickly) and simmer under water until they're cooked through but not mushy, 10-15 minutes depending on how thick the slabs are.  Remove from water and allow to cool.

In the same pan, melt the ghee on medium heat and saute the flour for a few minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the milk, stirring vigorously after each addition so no lumps form.  Cook, stirring, until thickened and creamy.  Add the cheese and whisk until smooth.

Stir 1/4 c. of the sauce into the egg yolks, then stir the yolks into the sauce in the pan.  Add the nutmeg and salt, taste and adjust seasoning, and set aside.

Cut the potatoes into 3/8" slabs and cover the bottom of your (greased) baking pan.  

In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (lamb, tomatoes, onions, garlic, seasonings and breadcrumbs).  The breadcrumbs soak up the liquid the eggplant will exude; omit them at your peril.  Taste and adjust seasoning then spread over the potatoes.  

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and layer over the meat, flesh side down. Spread the cheese sauce over the top. (I had a little bit of everything left over due to the pan being too small.)

Place the baking dish on the foil covered jelly-roll pan and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour until the top is brown and crispy.  As you can see, mine boiled over quite a bit.  If you use the right size baker you may not need the jelly-roll pan, but the stuff crusted on the sides was delicious.

I served it with radish sprouts mixed with EVOO, lemon juice and salt.  

*I like a LOT of cinnamon in this dish.  My jar was almost empty and I needed 1.5 t. to get the flavor I wanted.  If your jar is fresh, or if you want a subtler flavor, you could probably get away with 1 t. 

I use Japanese eggplants because they are not bitter, and the skins are very soft.  I roast them whole and then freeze them whole.  

In summer, when onions are abundant, I saute them and then freeze them in pint bags.

If you don't have home-preserved ingredients, you will need to prepare the eggplants and the meat sauce.  There are many recipes on the internet illustrating these steps.   Trust me: home-preserved is the way to go.

This is how much snow we got:

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