One of the dishes that we truly enjoyed while we were staying in Europe was Moussaka. Although we went to Athens, Greece, it was in Frankfurt that we ended up trying Moussaka for the first time. Most of the staff at our favorite restaurant were actually Greek and although it was a French Bistro, they sometimes put something Greek as their special of the day. We are not typically big fans of eggplant, but this is one recipe that makes us forget that it is even in there. We are attempting to recreate some of our favorite meals from our time in Europe and this is one of our first attempts. We modified a recipe that we found on the internet and the biggest difference is that it didn’t put sauce on top of the moussaka. It may not be quite as good as what the Greek chef at the restaurant made, but it was really delicious. Because it is just the two of us, this is a smaller recipe, but you can easily increase the amounts to make a larger batch.
- 2/3 lb Ground Lamb
- 1 Large Eggplant
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 Medium Red Onion – chopped
- 2/3 Clove of Fresh Garlic – minced
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1/8 Lemon – sliced into thin rings
- 1 Small Handful of Fresh Parsley – chopped
- 1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 8 oz Crushed Tomatoes
- 3 oz Feta Cheese Crumbles
- 1/3 cup Fresh Parmesan – grated
- 1/3 cup Bread Crumbs
- Salt and Pepper
Cut the stem off of the eggplant and peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices (You should have 6 slices). Salt and pepper both sides of the eggplant slices. Heat about 2 ounces of olive oil in a large skillet and heat to medium-high heat. Cook the eggplant slices in the skillet until golden brown, about 3 – 4 minutes per side. You will likely need to do this in a couple of batches as you don’t want to crowd the slices in the pan or they won’t fry properly. Remove the slices from the skillet and let them rest on a paper towel to drain. Add some more oil to the pan and add the onion, lemon, garlic, oregano and parsley. Cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add the ground lamb, making sure to break the meat up, and season with salt and pepper. Add the cinnamon, tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes and continue to cook until the lamb is brown and the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
Pre-heat an oven to 350 degrees. Select a casserole dish that is about the size of two of the eggplant slices laying side by side. Spray the bottom of the small casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and layer two of the eggplant slices on the bottom, trying to cover as much of the bottom of the dish as possible, but ensuring that there are no gaps between the eggplant slices. Add half of the meat mixture, then half of the feta cheese, and finally half of the parmesan cheese. Layer two more eggplant slices and repeat layering the meat and cheese. Place the final two slices on top and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes and the bread crumbs have turned golden brown.