Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Best Vegetarian Moussaka

I have ever made. True, it's the only one I've ever made. Still - it was pretty darn good!
It's kind of a lengthy process, though, requiring many dishes that later need to washed, so I wouldn't be making it every day. It's also not the best dish to make in the Phoenix summer - the oven was on for a little more than an hour! But the 99.99 cents only store had eggplants, and we've been wanting to make something with eggplants for a while now. Plus, we needed to use up the 10 lbs potato bag we have, so moussaka it was!

I kinda made up the recipe as I went, considering a bunch of recipes I found online, and adding ingredients I felt would be appropriate. I also tried to make the process as efficient as possible.
Here's what I used:

For the layers:
  • 2 eggplants
  • 6 small-medium potatoes
For the Tomato-Walnut filling:
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • dried herbs and spices: oregano, thyme, sage, paprika, salt
  • 1 large handful of walnuts, coarsely chopped (Genius! How could anything with walnuts be possibly bad?)
For the Feta-Bechamel:
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1 generous handful of feta (another spark of genius!)
The efficient cooking:
  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Slice the eggplant about 1/4", spread them on a large cutting board and salt them. let them "sit" for 1/2 hour
  • Slice the potatoes to the same thickness and arrange on an oil-sprayed cookie sheet, salt and bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Start cooking the filling: Heat oil on medium, chop onion and saute until softened.
  • Add tomatoes, garlic, herbs.
  • This is the time to chop the walnuts and add them in. When it start bubbling, reduce the heat and simmer.
  • While the filling is simmering, rinse eggplant slices and arrange on another cookie sheet, and bake 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350F.
  • Now it's time to make the feta-bechamel: In a small sauce pan melt butter, add flour and stir till well-mixed, then add milk and keep whisking until smooth. Then add crumbled feta.
  • Lightly oil a casserole dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  • Arrange 1/2 of the potato slices in one layer over the breadcrumbs, cover with about 1/2 cup of filling, arrange about 1/2 the eggplant slices, and cover with another 1/2 cup of filling, then repeat with potatoes, filling, eggplant, filling. You shouldn't have too much of the filling left by now, but that's okay - just top it all with the feta-bechamel sauce and Bake for 30-40 minutes until top is golden-brown. Let cook for 10 minutes or so before serving.
  • To be even more efficient, wash the dishes while it's baking. You should still have time to rest before it's ready :)

1 comment:

Dani said...

I appreciate the step-by-step cooking instructions.