I don't really have to explain this, my dear friend @CamilleBeGreen captured my goofy self on video.
Aaand here goes:
Greece's national dish has plenty of room for interpretation and doesn't just have to consist of eggplant, potatoes, ground meat and a simple bechamel. I dreamed up this moussaka because I love chorizo and manchego cheese. I threw a dinner party partly because I wanted to make a big ol moussaka (this one) and partly because I wanted to celebrate Easter (i.e., eat meat and cheese) and partly because Los Angeles blogger Andy of The Wind Attack PDX's visit. The dinner party got blessed with the presence of Kramer Vineyards in Gaston, OR with Becky & Co. masterminding the wine pairings.
I was really happy with the results although in the midst of dinner party preparations for 20 guests, I forgot to add the breadcrumbs which made the casserole a little extra juicy. I would gladly make this again, especially for my Aunt Mary in Greece, moussaka evaluator extraordinaire. I referenced Peter's (Kalofagas) recipe for bechamel sauce which turned out divine, as all his recipes do.
3 eggplants, peeled and cut in horizontal 1/2-1/4 inch slices
1 jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained and sliced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 lbs chorizo sausage
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
4 cloves minced garlic
1 large white onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup AP flour
5 cup warm low fat milk
1 cup grated manchego cheese
pinch of grated nutmeg
- Sprinkle salt on eggplants for at least half an hour to draw out the moisture, then arrange slices a cooking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and bake at 450 degrees until soft - about 30 minutes.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the onion, cooking until translucent, then add garlic.
- Add the chorizo breaking it up into tiny pieces, cook until almost brown, then add tomatoes and wine and simmer until liquid is reduced.
- In a large casserole, arrange a layer of the eggplant slices and roasted peppers (use half of supplies). Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and top with half of the meat sauce. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, then layer remaining eggplant and peppers, continuing the cycle of breadcrumbs and meat sauce.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Once you've arranged the base of the casserole, make the bechamel:
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat, then add flour stirring quickly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps from forming. Stir until mixture turn golden brown.
- Pour the warm milk in while stirring, add salt to taste, and stir until mixture thickens, then turn off heat and add cheese and eggs one by one. Keep stirring all this time. Stir in nutmeg.
- Pour the bechamel sauce over meat/eggplant layers and bake in oven for 1 hour or until golden brown. Let rest at least 30 minutes before serving, allowing time for casserole to set.
Nosh with 2007 Kramer Vineyards Carmine. A pairing made in Greek Oregon heaven.