Here is the second half to my Moose Day Post: Moussaka!  If you have never heard of Moussaka, it is a Greek dish, and it is absolutely delicious.  I like to think of it as good for you too, it's mostly protein and a little tiny bit of unhealthy stuff on top (like cheesy bechemel sauce).  This dish is a great dish to make on Sunday, or when you have a little bit of extra time, because it needs time to simmer and bake.  Since it does take some time to make, I figured I might as well make a double batch!  So I gave one casserole to my in-laws, and kept one for ourselves for dinner last night!  If you don't want to give one to your in-laws or anyone else, because it is so tasty and you want to keep it all to yourself (finders keepers, makers eaters), it is a great dish to freeze, and save for a later date when you need dinner in a pinch!

Disclaimer: Traditional moussaka is made with lamb, and layers of fried eggplant.  While I'm sure that is delicious, I cannot afford to buy lamb in bulk, and I don't want to take the time or calories to fry eggplant.  So instead, I use ground chicken, turkey, or lean ground beef, and dice up and saute the eggplant instead of frying.

This recipe is my adaptation of Bobby Flay's recipe on Throwdown a few years ago.


1/4 cup dried
currants or golden raisins
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground meat (beef, chicken, or turkey are all fine)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 small eggplant, diced

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, and thinly sliced1 serrano chile, finely diced
5 cloves garlic
, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce can) crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
Honey, if needed

Bechamel Sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup soft goat cheese or feta cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan
1 lemon, zested

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 6-quart
saucepan over high heat. Add the ground meat, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cayenne, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a large strainer set over a bowl and drain; discard any liquid left in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions, bell pepper and eggplant, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

Return the meat to the pan, add the wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and currants and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano and season with salt and pepper and honey, if needed. Remove from the heat.
For the bechamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and bay leaf and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and discard the bay leaf. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, goat cheese, and lemon zest and whisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking
dish or casserole dish

To assemble: Pour the meat into the casserole dish and spread evenly.  Pour the bechamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Romano evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until browned and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Top with more chopped parsley, if desired. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.