Thursday, April 11, 2013

Greek Moussaka

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground lamb or beef
1 small can tomato paste
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (I use whole allspice and crush with a mortar and pestle as it gives an excellent flavor)
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh-ground peppercorns
1 eggplant, large, peel and slice 1/4-inch thick
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup milk or half and half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the broiler. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and garlic, cooking until they begin to turn translucent. Add lamb and cook until  meat browns lightly. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, cinnamon, crushed allspice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer covered, about 10 minutes.  
Lightly coat both sides of the eggplant slices with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the eggplant on a foil coated baking sheet and broil until browned. Turn and broil until browned on the other side.  
In a small pan, combine the cream cheese, milk, pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Slowly cook over low heat until just melted.  
Spray a small casserole or  8-by-8-inch baking dish. Layer half the eggplant then half the meat sauce in the pan.  Top with half the Parmesan. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant, meat sauce, and Parmesan. Spoon cream-cheese sauce on top; bake for 30 minutes.  If top is not toasted brown, broil until just lightly brown.
Let set for 5 - 10 minutes - this is important so that the casserole sets up when you slice it.  Cut and serve with a green salad.