Sunday, November 21, 2010

Grecian Moussaka

This is an awesome entree!
     There are many different versions of Moussaka in the middle eastern countries and eastern europe.  This recipe is one of many Greek versions of Moussaka.  I decided to try to create a free standing moussaka instead of a casserloe style moussaka.  I used a small pop ring cheese cake mold to create this fee standing mousaka.  If you have no pop ring mold that is this small, then this recipe can be made in a small casserole dish.
     Recipe:  Place an oiled pop ring mold on a baking pan.      
     Layering Steps:  Alternately thin layers of these ingredients inside the pop ring mold:  very thin sliced unpeeled eggplant slices, finely chopped lamb, tomato puree, chopped garlic and feta cheese. 
     Add a few drops of virgin olive oil to each layer.
     Season each layer with a pinch each of these spices:  cinnamon, oregano, fennel seed, sea salt and black pepper.
     Use the ring mold to keep the stacked layers molded to round shape.  You can stack ring molds on top of each other to make a tall moussaka.  (Leave the ring molds in place during baking.)
     Make as many layers of the ingredients as you wish but you have to leave about 1/2 inch of room at the top of the stack in the ring mold for the bechamel topping.
     Feta Bechamel Topping:  For this recipe, the white roux is made with olive oil instead of butter.  You only need about 2 tablespoons of roux for this recipe.
     Heat a sauce pot over medium heat. 
     Add a splash of olive oil. 
     Add an equal amount of flour while constantly stirring.
     Stir untill the roux becomes smooth and "white" colored. 
     Add 1/2 cup of milk while stirring.
     When the roux thickens the milk, add a splash of cream and whisk till a heavy bechemel sauce is formed.  (The bechamel should have a heavy thick texture.)
     Whisk in a small handful of feta cheese. 
     Whisk till the cheese blends into the bechamel.
     Remove the sauce from the heat.
     Whisk in one beaten egg.
     Topping:  Be sure that the top layer of the moussaka ingredients are pressed against the ring mold so the feta bechamel does not leak past the top layer. 
     Pour the thick feta cheese sauce into the remaining 1/2 inch of room on the top of the ring mold.  (This sauce will rise and expand like a custard when baked.)
     Recipe:  Place the baking pan and moussaka in a 300 degree oven.
     Bake for more than an hour, till the custard topping turns a golden brown color. 
     Remove the moussaka from the oven and let it rest for 2 minutes.
     Use a paring knife to loosen the moussaka edges from the ring molds.
     Slide the moussaka and ring molds together as one, onto a plate with a spatula.
     Lift or pop the ring molds and remove them.
     Spoon the tomato sauce around the moussaka.     
     Moussaka Tomato Sauce Recipe:   Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of tomato puree.
     Add a finely chopped fresh plum tomato.
     Add a splash of olive oil.
     Add 3 pinches of oregano.
     Add a pinch of cinnamon.
     Add a pinch of fennel seed.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Simmer and stir the sauce till the flavors meld and a thin tomato sauce is formed.
     This is a great entree!  The flavor of Moussaka is out of this world!  The slow baking makes the ingredients succulent and tender.  It doesn't hurt to have some Ouzo on the rocks and to dance on the table after this dinner!  Ouzo turns milky white when ice is added.  Yum! ...  Shawna

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