tasty tuesday...michael symon's moussaka...

This dish has a multi-layered and deep flavor profile. It's the perfect dish for a cold winter day.

I have always been intrigued by Greek food. My sister-in-law Alex is first generation Greek-American and her Papa is a chef. He makes the most amazing Baklava and Pastichio. The food would make you cry, I tell you he's that good. I knew that whatever I made couldn't hold a candle to his cooking, but I had a hankering for some authentic Greek Cuisine and was determined to succeed. So of to the internet I went searching for a good recipe. 

Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish pronounced ["moo-sah-kah"], that includes eggplant, tomatoes and some kind of minced meat. Lamb is the most popular choice. Every family has their own version of this dish sort of like lasagna. It is a stick to your ribs kind of meal. Serve it with a simple salad and your all set.

I found this recipe on "The Chew" website. It's Michael Symon's mothers dish and I was initially quite intimidated by the list of ingredient's
as I began to work I was drawn into "story" and flavors of the dish. The spice combo alone made my mouth want to shout "OPA!" I made a few very minor adjustments to the original recipe and it was delish. The currents with the lamb are a little sweet surprise that was unexpected and delightful. 

So if your feeling adventurous give this recipe a whirl.


Celebrate the Feast!
This weeks recipe is being shared with  Nap Time CreationsBalancing Beauty and Bedlam , Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe BoxFat Tuesday @ Real Food ForagerDomestically Divine Homemaking Link UpWhat's Cooking Wednesday @ Tales from the Fairy Blogmother, Raising Homemakers, Delicious DishesTempt Your Tummy TuesdayThe Kids in the Kitchen Link-up @ Young Living Oil Lady,  This Chic CooksCast Party Wednesday @ Lady behind the CurtainTuesdays at the Table33 Shades of Green, Full Plate @ Miz Helen's Country CottageFriday Flair @ Whipperberry Food on Friday's @ Anne KroekerSimply Delish Saturday @ KB and Whitsnakes HomeCooking Thursday @ A Diary of a Stay at Home MomGCC Recipe swap @ The Grocery Cart ChallengeWeekend Potluck @ The Country Cook as well as the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop@21st Century Housewife. Head on over to their blogs and check out other fabulous recipes.
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Michael Symon's Moussaka


1/4 cup Dried Currants
1/4 cup Greek Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Divided)
1/2 pound Ground Lamb
1/2 pound Ground Sirloin
3/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Large Yellow Onion (Halved and Thinly Sliced)
1 Red Bell pepper (Stemmed/Cored/Thinly Sliced)
5 Cloves Garlic (Finely Chopped)
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 cup Red Wine
1 28 oz. Can Plum Tomatoes (Pureed Until Smooth with Their Juices) 

1.5 cups Canola Oil 
1.5 pound Eggplant (Cut Crosswise into 14 Thick Slices) 
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper 

Bechamel Sauce: 
6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter 
1/2 cup Flour 
2.5 cups Milk 
1 Bay Leaf 
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper 
1/8 teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg 
3 Egg Yolks 
1/2 cup Soft Goat Cheese 
1 cup Grated Romano (Plus Extra for Garnish) 
1 Lemon (Zested) 
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (Plus More for Garnish) 
2 tablespoons Chopped Fresh Oregano


For the lamb: 
Soak the currants in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain. 
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the lamb, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cayenne, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a large strainer set over a bowl and drain; discard any liquid left in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. 
Return the lamb to the pan, add the wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and currants and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Check for seasoning and remove from the heat. 

For the eggplant: 
Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Season the eggplant slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the eggplant slices and fry until tender and lightly golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant slices to paper towels. 

For the bechamel: 
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and bay leaf and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and discard the bay leaf. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, goat cheese, Romano cheese, parsley, oregano, honey and lemon zest and whisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth. 

To assemble: 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or casserole dish. 
Put half the eggplant slices in the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining eggplant slices, and then the remaining meat sauce. Pour the bechamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Romano evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until browned and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Top with more chopped parsley, if desired. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.