12 December, 2010

Vegetarian Moussaka

Some dishes are less photogenic than others, but this does not diminish their yuminess.  The moussaka recipe comes from a French Cookbook: "Les indispensable plats végétariens" - it is a perfect dish for colder wintery days!  
I  pretty much followed the recipe - the only big modification was baking eggplants, instead of frying them.

What you need
2-3 tbsp olive oil (if you are frying eggplants you will need much more than that, about 1/2 cup)
1 medium onion, cubed
4 celery stalks, cubed
1 garlic clove, minced (I used 3 cloves - you can never have too much garlic)
1 can (about 19oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (about 12oz) lentils (I recommend using green or red lentils, I experimented this time with small brown ones and did not like the consistency of the filling)
2 tbsp parsley, minced (you can use more if you like)
salt and pepper
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch circles

Béchamel sauce
25 g butter (a little bit less than 2 tablespoons)
25 g flour
300 ml milk
a pinch of nutmeg
1 egg
55 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

What to do
  • Preheat the oven to 355F
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan heat 1 tbsp of oil, add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft
  • Add celery, garlic, tomatoes (with juice), lentils (with water), and parsley.  Salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • I did not use the water from lentils, instead I added 1/4 of water.  I also like to add a half of parsley towards the end of cooking.
  •  In a pan, fry eggplants in batches, till golden.  Let cool down on a paper towel to absorb oil.
  • To bake eggplants, brush them with oil and arrange on a parchment-covered cookie sheet.  Depending on your oven it will take between 10 to 15 minutes to cook for each side.
  • In a 9x9 oven-proof form, brushed with oil, layer the ingredients: lentil mix, eggplants layer, another lentil layer, and eggplants on top.   

  • To prepare the Béchamel sauce, combine butter, flour, and milk in a small saucepan.
  • Cook, stirring constantly on a medium heat.  As the mix will get hotter, it will thicken.  
  • Add salt and pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.  Remove from heat and let cool down.
  • Pour Béchamel over moussaka, sprinkle with Parmesan, and cook for 30-40 minutes (or until golden) in the oven.

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