Ground beef makes a convenient substitute for lamb in this variation on classic Greek moussaka. Be sure to use truncheon-shaped western eggplant, and not the thinner Japanese eggplant.
Serves: 4Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 2 hours 35 minutesDifficulty: Medium
- 2 medium eggplants
- Salt, as needed
- 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3⁄4 cup canned tomatoes
- 1⁄4 cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2 1⁄2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan or Gruyère cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9-by-9-inch baking dish.
- Peel the eggplants and cut into slices between 1⁄4 inch and 1⁄2 inch thick. Degorge the eggplant slices by placing them in a colander and sprinkling with salt. Let the eggplant slices sit for at least 1 hour to release their liquid. Remove from the colander, lay on paper towels, and press down to remove the liquid.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the eggplant slices and sauté over medium heat until they are browned. Remove and drain on paper towels. Clean out the frying pan.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the frying pan. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until they are soft and translucent. Add the ground beef, using a spatula to break it up. Cook over medium heat until the beef is browned. Drain the fat from the frying pan. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and the white wine. Stir in the oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the fresh parsley.
- While the meat is simmering, prepare the white sauce: melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring continuously until the flour is mixed in with the butter (2 to 3 minutes). Slowly add the half-and-half. Continue stirring over medium heat until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and stir in the lightly beaten egg.
- To cook, add the eggplant and meat sauce to the dish in layers: lay out half the eggplant slices in the bottom of the baking dish and spread half of the meat sauce mixture on top of the eggplant. Repeat with the remaining half of the eggplant and meat sauce. Spread the béchamel sauce over top. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Bake until the moussaka is heated through (about 45 minutes). Cut into squares to serve.