As a busy, always-on-the-go family, we’re constantly seeking out new ethnic recipes that are somewhat simple, yet healthier than fast food or Hamburger Helper. We found one for Moussaka in One-Pot Meals, a cookbook filled with relatively simple low-fat recipes, but Mary altered it a bit to make it more traditional.
Moussaka, also known as eggplant casserole, is popular in Greek, Turkish and South Slavic cuisines, common throughout the Balkans, Mediterranean, and the Middle East. The modern Greek version was probably invented by Tselementes in the 1920s and has three layers: A bottom layer of sautéed eggplant slices; a middle layer of cooked ground lamb cooked with onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes, herbs and spices; and a top layer of béchamel sauce or egg custard. Mary’s version mixes lean turkey with lamb, but for an even healthier vegetarian version you can eliminate the meat altogether and substitute potatoes.
INGREDIENTS: 3 medium eggplants, peeled • 1 cup onion, finely chopped • 2 garlic cloves, minced • 1 tbsp olive oil • 1 lb lean lamb, ground • 1 lb turkey, ground • 1 cup drained canned or fresh tomatoes, or 3 tbsp tomato paste • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped • 1 cup white wine • ¼ tsp allspice • 1 tsp cinnamon • black pepper, freshly ground • 3 eggs, lightly beaten• 2 cups plain Greek yogurt • ¾ light cream
DIRECTIONS: Cut eggplant lengthwise into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices, place in colander and set aside. • Meanwhile, sauté onion, garlic and ground meats in olive oil. • Add tomatoes, parsley, and white wine and simmer gently about 45 minutes. • Add allspice, cinnamon and black pepper. • Quickly sauté eggplant until lightly browned on all sides. • Assemble ingredients in a 9’ x 13’ baking dish, layering eggplant, meat, and eggplant again. • In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, eggs and cream. • Season with salt and pepper and pour over casserole. • Let sit for 10 minutes before baking at 375 degrees for 30-40 min, until top is browned (or microwave on High for 25 minutes). • Let rest until lukewarm.