I've been in a funk... the combination of starting a new job and feeling insecure with learning new information, receiving bad news (betrayal of someone I thought was a friend), physical pain, not sleeping well, and starting the therapy journey and thinking about all the life time traumas.
I slept a lot this weekend... which I suppose is good since I slept poorly all week. Today I decided to actually do something fun/creative and make Moussaka.
It may not be the prettiest thing.. but it sure is tasty and very comforting.
Mom brought up Moussaka a couple times so I decided to make it for our Sunday Dinner… Linner? Dunch… we’ve taken to have an early meal around 3:30 pm 4:00pm on Sundays and then maybe having a snack later if I feel like it. Bringing back the idea of having a special meal together that I take some time with vs something thrown together in a rush.
Moussaka is definitely a food of love involving many steps to complete. The “Montana” in this is because I used Bison meat vs the traditional Lamb or Beef. You could use whatever meat you like though or even make it vegetarian with Impossible or Beyond meat substitute or mushrooms.
1lb Ground Bison Meat
2 Large Eggplants
5 Golden Potatoes (give or take… I got 7 but didn’t end up using them all)
14 oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
4 Tbs Tomato paste
1 large sweet onion chopped
2 Tbs minced garlic
1 stick butter ( I used salted) (if you use un- just add more salt to taste)
8 Tbs All Purpose Flour
1 Ltr Whole Milk
2 Cups Cheese (plus about another cup to sprinkle on top) (I used a combination of Italian Blend and Swiss Blends.. they had parmesan, romano, asigo and gruyere and swiss)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F
2. Start by prepping your eggplant. Slice these into ½ inch long strips… I suppose there is no reason you couldn’t do this the short way but I like how it lays in the pan better long. First you want to put these on a pan lined in foil and sprinkle them generously with salt on both sides and let them sit for about 30 minutes… this will cause excess moisture to release. After its sat about 30 minutes take a paper towel or kitchen towel and dab off the extra moisture (and salt on both sides)… Then give a generous drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Make sure you’ve got this on both sides. (This took up two sheet pans for me). Put the pans in the oven for 20 minutes.
3. While the Eggplant is cooking… Bring a large pot of water to a boil with salt.
Slice your potatoes ( you can peel them if you are particular but I don’t bother with this… lots of good nutrients in the skin and how this assembles it helps hold things together. Again probably about ½ inch thickness. Once the water comes to a boil carefully put in your potatoes and let them cook 7-10 minutes till they are just starting to get tender. Drain but keep about 2 cups of the starchy potato water in a bowl to help with the meat sauce later.
4. In a large pan on med-high heat drizzle with olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic till translucent and soft. Add a generous amount of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add in the bison meat and break up and brown several minutes. Add in the tomato paste and stir, then add in the crushed tomatoes and stir again… let it simmer 10-15 minutes. Adding some of the potato water as needed to make a nice sauce. Let it continue to simmer while you start your Bechamel.
5. Your eggplant should probably be done around now. Just pull it out and let it cool on the pans on the counter. Turn the oven down to 350 F.
6. In a large pot (I used the same one I used for the potatoes)…on Medium – high heat.. Melt the stick of butter. Add in the flour stirring as you go and make a nice roux… don’t let it get too brown but definitely cook it a few minutes. Slowly start adding in your milk letting it thicken into a nice sauce as you go. In a small bowl scramble your 3 eggs. Temper the eggs by pouring a small amount of the sauce at a time into the bowl with the eggs (to prevent curdling) . Pour the eggs once tempered into the sauce. Turn the heat to low and whisk quickly by adding a bit of the shredded cheese at a time to melt it.
Turn the heat off to both sauces…. Its time to assemble.
Grease a 9x13 baking pan (I used cooking spray).
Add a later of Bechamel to the bottom of the pan.
Layer the bottom of the pan with the potatoes.
Then add the eggplant layer (with two eggplants it actually ends up being two layers of eggplant)
Top with the meat sauce
Top with the Bechamel
Sprinkle with another cup of cheese.
I put the baking pan on one of the sheet pans just for more stability and also just in case there was any spill over .
Let it bake for about 45 minutes.
I had left over potatoes, bechamel and cheese! In a pie pan I combined all of these plus about a cup of chives from my garden and baked it for about 35 minutes at the same temperature
I havent tasted it yet but the Moussaka was really good!
About the Blog
I've been blogging on and off for years. This is my area to explore healing, food, wine, travel and various thoughts on life. My goal: Be True. Be Kind. Heal. Dream. Inspire. Discover. Create.