Moussaka With Eggplant and Peppers and Yogurt Béchamel
1 (1 1/2-pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 (32-ounce) carton plain low-fat yogurt
3 large green bell peppers
1 pound peeled baking potato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound lean ground lamb or beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped peeled tomato (about 1 pound)
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup dried currants
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or dash of crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese or Romano cheese
Dash of nutmeg
2 large egg yolks
How to Make It
Place eggplant in a large bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Rinse and drain; pat dry with paper towels.
Spoon yogurt onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels; spread to 1/2-inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand 10 minutes. Scrape into a bowl using a rubber spatula; cover and refrigerate.
Place half the eggplant slices on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 6 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with the remaining eggplant.
Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a broiler pan; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes; peel.
Place the potato slices on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 7 minutes per side or until golden on both sides.
Arrange potato slices in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with eggplant slices. Arrange bell pepper halves over eggplant.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well; return to pan. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in tomato and next 5 ingredients (tomato through cinnamon stick); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; discard cinnamon stick. Spoon over bell pepper halves.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine the olive oil and flour in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Combine the drained yogurt and milk. Add the yogurt mixture to flour mixture, stirring continuously; cook until thick (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in 3/4 cup cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, dash of nutmeg, and egg yolks.
Spoon the sauce over the lamb mixture; spreading carefully, run a knife around outside edge to allow sauce to run into dish (dish will be very full). Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 20 minutes.
This was fantastic!! I've always been a fan of moussaka, but I was convinced that I would never be able to pull it off at home. Wrong! I agree that it's very time-consuming - it took over 2 hours. But it was SO worth it. And you feel good eating it since it's so healthy; mine was even healthier since I used nonfat milk/yogurt, low-fat cheese, local grass-fed lamb, and all organic ingredients. Here are a couple of tips:
* I don't like green peppers, so I skipped those altogether. I suppose you could use red instead.
* Unlike one of the reviewers, there was plenty of meat and the portions were correct. However, next time I might add more tomatoes for extra sauciness.
* To maximize my time, I cooked everything in the following order: 1) Prepped the ingredients for the sauce and made that first; 2) Cut the eggplant and let it sit; 3) Cooked the potatoes; 4) Let the yogurt drain; 5) Cooked the eggplant, and made the sauce while it cooked; and 6) Assembled and cooked the dish. Bravo!
I felt this was an extremely time-intensive recipe that did not have much pay-off. This does not compare well to a traditional Greek moussaka. The sauce lacked creaminess, the peppers overshadowed the potatoes and eggplant, and there was not enough meat. I understand these are all ways to make it more healthful, but this did not nearly get the "wow" factor I usually get from Cooking Light, and I will not make it again.
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