Saturday, September 7, 2013

Heck of a Lot of Vegetables Vegetarian Moussaka


I was helping my coworker think up recipes for her bumper crop of eggplants (or aubergine as the British say), when I came across a recipe for moussaka.  She'd already made a ton of eggplant Parmesan and wasn't too keen on the baba ganoush I mentioned but the moussaka looked promising.

When I became the happy recipient of a couple of her eggplants I thought I might as well try out a moussaka recipe for myself.  Most of the recipes I saw had a very flavorful meat sauce as one the main components.  I knew I wanted to go meatless so that meant beefing up the sauce with veggies.  I knew I also didn't want a heavy Bechamel sauce to go on top of everything so I gave that a redo as well.  

The end product was a filling but lighter version of a standard moussaka with all the rich flavor and a healthy dose of your daily requirement of vegetables. 

moussaka

2 eggplants 
4-6 tablespoons olive oil, plus some for the pan
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 crimini  mushrooms
1 can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
pinch of nutmeg
2 eggs
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil a 9 by 12 baking pan.  Trim the top and bottom from the eggplants and slice lengthwise into slices about 1/2 inch thick.  Brush both sides with olive oil and layer in baking pan.  Cover with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes or until eggplant is tender.  

Meanwhile make the sauce. In a medium heavy bottomed pot on medium high heat add 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add onions, pepper, garlic, mushrooms, oregano, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Saute for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  If pan becomes sticky add a bit of water or a few drops of cooking Sherry.

Add tomato sauce, tomato paste and bay leaf.  Simmer for 20 minutes. 

To make the Bechamel sauce: In a small heavy bottomed pan on medium high heat melt butter.  Add flour and stir in.  Bring to a boil and cook for a minute, stirring occasionally.  Whisk in milk and nutmeg and cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 2 or 3 minutes.  Remove from heat; crack eggs into medium bowl.  Pour about 1/4 of the milk mixture into the eggs and whisk in.  Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the pot and whisk in. Set aside.

Pour the vegetable sauce over eggplant and smooth with an offset spatula.  Top with cooled Bechamel sauce and smooth.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and Bechamel is set.  Makes 8 servings.











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