Thursday, March 11, 2010
This recipe for Moussaka originated in Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. It's one of the loveliest cookbooks I've seen thanks to beautiful full color food photography throughout. The name is something of a misnomer as her recipes originate from cuisines found a big arc around the Mediterranean from Morocco across North Africa to Egypt, north through the Levant, then east to Iraq and Iran, and north to Turkey and Greece.
Much as I admire certain books or recipes, I always do some adaptation to my own personal taste. Frequently that means reducing fat content and adjusting spice content, as here with the addition of the Moroccan spice mix Ras el-hanout and substitution of ground turkey for beef or lamb--with no sacrifice of flavor.
2 onions chopped or thinly sliced
1-1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs Ras el-hanout or other Moroccan spice mix
5 large tomatoes, chopped
eggplants, 1-1/2 lbs total, unpeeled, cut crosswise in 1/3 inch slices
Options--1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley; 1/2 teaspoon chili-pepper flakes
Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil both sides, broil or grill until lightly browned, and line the bottom of a 10x14 inch baking dish with 1/2 of them.
Saute the onions in olive oil until golden, add the turkey and break up with a spatula, stirring until browned. Add spices, salt and pepper to taste, tomatoes and cook until the liquid has almost all gone off. Add the parsley if using, then mix and spread on top of the eggplant in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining eggplant. Keep warm.
Make a bechamel sauce:
Melt 4 Tbs. butter or margarine in a pan, whisk in 4 Tbs. flour gradually until blended. Gradually add 2-1/2 cups hot milk, stirring vigorously to prevent lumps forming (a whisk works very well) and heat until just boiling. Lower the flame and simmer until sauce thickens. Add salt, pepper and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. Beat two eggs lightly in a bowl. Add a bit of the sauce to warm the eggs, then pour them into the sauce pan, beating vigorously (a whisk works very well here). Turn heat off and immediately stir in 1/2 to 2/3 cup grated very sharp cheddar, stirring until the cheese is melted. Pour the sauce over the moussaka and bake at 400 degrees about 45 minutes or until browned a rich gold color.
Then paste it to the HTML section of your new post... or call me.