Our neighbor and amazing chef/owner of Cafe Collage in Oregon House, Ca was kind enough to share his amazing Moussaka recipe with us. This is a treat that I love to order when we get the time to visit his restaurant - and dream of it when I leave! This was so much fun making this dish with Salim and his wife Anne. Enjoy this wonderful dish!
"Moussaka is probably one of the most popular Greek dishes. During my travels in Greece, I have sampled quite a few and never tasted two similar ones. The recipes are often quite personal and every household or cook has developed their favorite one. The memory of Greek tavernas with all the local fresh dishes, music and loud laughter still resurfaces from time to time. No such experience can be substituted"
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup Sliced Red Onion
1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1.5 tbsp Garlic, sliced thinly
2 cups water
2/3 cup Olive Oil
1.5 lbs Eggplant (a larger/rounder variety)
1 Tsp Salt
2 cups tomato sauce (See recipe below)
4 cups tomato sauce
6 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 Cup heavy cream
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Cup Mozzarella
1 tbsp Dried Oregano
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You will need one sheet pan and one 12x10 in (2 inches deep) pan.
Preheat 2 tbsp olive oil, on medium heat, add onions. Sautee on high heat stirring often, do not let them burn. Add ground beef, garlic, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander. Stir until well mixed, then add two cups of water. Cook beef mixture for 20 more minutes until beef is completely cooked. Let the mixture cool down then drain the beef mixture of fat, using a colander
Put sliced eggplants in the bottom of the 12x10 dish in one layer overlapping the eggplant so the bottom of the pan is completely covered. Take the remaining eggplant and put on the sheet pan in one layer, overlapping slightly. Pour 1/3 cup olive oil on the 10x12 pan plus one tsp salt. Repeat on the sheet pan. Put both eggplants dishes in the oven for 15 min, you want them dry, not burned.
Blend the tomato sauce with 6 garlic cloves, 1 tsp salt and ¼ cup olive oil.
Preparing the Moussaka – Take the 12x10 dish with eggplant in the bottom and pour 2 cups of the tomato sauce over the eggplant, spread evenly. Add all the beef mixture to the top in an even layer, and lightly press. Next add the additional eggplant, one cup of the tomato sauce, 1 cup whipping cream, and 1 tsp nutmeg sprinkled on the top. Out in the oven and cook for 30-40 min. Keep moving the pan every 15 min to make sure it is cooked evenly on all sides and dark brown on top.
Remove from oven and set to broil. Add 1 cup grated mozzarella and broil for 5 min, keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!
Let it cool down.
Divide the moussaka into 6 portions once cooled down and serve ideally with side spinach salad.
Traditionally, the moussaka is prepared a day or two in advance, as the flavors settle in the process of refrigeration.
*This meal is also wonderful reheated. To reheat, at 375 degrees, take the moussaka slice and top it with one fourth-cup tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and feta cheese, bake for 15 min and serve topped with Greek oregano – it will be just as wonderful as the first day.
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