Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spanish Style Moussaka

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. 

Extra juicy 

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. 

Spanish Moussaka
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
olive oil

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup AP flour
5 cup warm low fat milk
4 eggs
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. 


Peter M said...

Look at you, kinda' nervous with a whole audience of dudes listening to your every word. ;)

The ingredients you rhymed off sounds really good...I would simmer the sauce down more so that there's less liquid and your Moussaka stays in tact when you slicer'er.

Thanks Banana for the link-luv ;)

Lenia said...

Nice version of this traditional greek dish,Anna!Well done!A big kiss from Greece:)

Kung Food Panda said...

Yum! This looks wonderful Anna!

My Little Expat Kitchen said...

What an original interpretation of the traditional moussaka Anna. I too love Manchego cheese so I should try it sometime.

Btw, I loved that vintage dress you got from Greece! :)

Elra's cooking and baking said...

Love moussaka in general, Greek, or Spanish, I am sure it's delicious. Your photo even make it more drool worthy.

FOODalogue said...

I love taking traditional dishes and presenting them in unexpected ways. This is a good example. Nice work.

Helen said...

This Spanish style moussaka looks fantastic to me! I've never tasted manchego cheese before. The video is also a great touch. And you look marvelous sistah!

I checked out your blog post about the best moussaka place on Vouliagmeni. It's waaay out there near the coast. Hmmm. I'll have to find someone with a car to take me there.

JustinM said...

There is nothing I do not love about chorizo and manchego.

Anna A. said...

Peter - I thought I simmered it down to completion -- hmmm I think you need to make a moussaka video!

Lenia - Efxaristw! I hope to make more mash-ups in the future :-)

Kung Food Panda - Thanks Panda man!

Magda - Ahh efxaristw :-) the lady who gave it to me was actually a doctor back in the days in Greece when women weren't really doctors.

Elra - Good stuff!

Foodalogue - Glad you appreciate this one. I like the mash-ups too. So fun!

Helen - Ahh thanks sistah! I might have told you this already, but my yiayia's name was Helen (Eleni) and my parents were going to name me Helen but there were "too many" Helen's in the family since my cousin in Greece is also named Helen. Damn, that would have been weird (but cool). Manchego tastes very similar to kefalograviera cheese...please, you MUST try manchego sometimes... do you have Whole Foods there?

JustinM - High five man!

elly said...

Um, you are brilliant. My two favorite cuisines combined. Love it!

SouthBayGuy said...

This looks awesome. What size can of tomatoes?

I may have to try this with spanish chorizo.

Many hugs,

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Wow! This looks amazing...the interpretation is fantastic Anna! Chorizo is just the best!

Ivy said...

Bravo Anna. I love fusion cuisines and this Spanish interpretation sounds excellent. You look fantastic!!

Helen said...

Yes, there are several Whole Foods in my area. I don't go very often cuz its expensive. I'll have to check it out. I do recall you mentioning the Helen significance in your family. Do you feel like a Helen? You can still refer to yourself as an Hellenida :)

Anna A. said...

elly - i've decided to cook more Spanish food...starting with paella!

SouthBayGuy - I used a regular 16 oz(?) can. You know, the standard size most commonly found on your everyday grocery store shelf.

Peter - Yes, chorizo is wonderful. Also, it's always a surprise when you get it from your local butcher... kind of like Christmas :-)

Ivy - Ahh thanks :-)

Helenida - hah, I love it! Whole Paycheck is be pretty pricey, but I found their proprietary label affordable and nostimo :-)

Mary said...

It looks wonderful, Anna. Were there any other women at your party :-). Your version of moussaka sounds delicious. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

Anna A. said...

Mary - Haha! my friend who is filmed is a female and there were other women...but for some reason my friend filmed just them men :-)

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