I created my version of this Southern Style Moussaka shortly after Father's Day, Having about 4 pounds or more left over of a large Boneless LEG O LAMB. It cost too much to let it go to waste, and I wanted to make something that I was sure my husband would really like. After reviewing 5 different recipes for the same dish, this is my version. I really wanted to build on the flavors, & create a wonderful recipe. Little did I know that it takes a lot of work to create. I managed to make my husband happy with my interpetation, and that was most important. But next time I will start much earlier.
1VEGGIE MIXTURE: Spray a jelly roll size pan with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle each side lightly with salt and pepper. Or use cooking spray instead of olive oil. Broil under broiler about 5 minutes per side. REPEAT UNTIL ALL OF THE EGGPLANT SLICES HAS BEEN BROILED. Remove to a large platter till ready to assemble.
2Some of the main ingredients used in the meat sauce.
3MEAT SAUCE:In the mean time melt1/2 stick butter in a large skillet, and add remaining chopped vegetables,minced garlic & parsley, and saute till transparent. Then add processed lamb to skillet, cook about 10 minutes, and stir with wooden spoon as mixture cooks. Add drained sliced mushrooms,pureed tomatoes, spices & tomato paste. Continue to cook over medium heat, add red wine, sugar or splenda, worcestershire sauce and stir as you continue to cook. Combine cornstarch with reserved mushroom liquid, and stir to mix throughly, then add to skillet and allow mixture to thicken a bit. Allow to cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Then remove from heat till ready to assemble.
4BECHAMEL SAUCE: To make the Bechamel Sauce, melt the stick of butter over low heat in a medium size sauce pan.Add flour and whisk with a wire whisk till smooth, add white pepper, and salt to taste if desired, add nutmeg. Slowly pour in milk and whisk briskly to prevent lumps, continue to stir till mixture begins to thicken, then remove from heat. Beat the large eggs with egg yolks in a small bowl. Temper the eggs by adding a small amount of the sauce to the eggs, and beat briskly, then gradually add more sauce, beating as you go. Then pour egg mixture into sauce mixture, and stir, return to heat & cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of parmesan cheese. Stir to blend cheese into mixture, and set aside. NOW YOU ARE FINALLY READY TO ASSEMBLE.
5TO ASSEMBLE: Preheat oven to 350 DEGREES F. Spray a 9X13X2 inch casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Then spread a thin layer of meat sauce on bottom. Top with a layer of the broiled eggplant slices. To that add a generous amount of the meat sauce, and sprinkle with half of the monterey Jack, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat this step a second time. You will probably have enough left over to make a 3 quart size to share with a neighbor or freeze for a later time.
6Pour Bechamel sauce over top of casserole. Place in preheated 350 degree F. oven and bake for 1 hour, till mixture is hot & bubbly and slightly golden brown around edges. I added a large aluminum sheet cake pan to the oven rack and placed casserole inside to catch any oven drips as it cooked. Serve with salad & warm Rolls.
7Most Moussaka recipes only uses a small amount of meat, but I had a lot left over from a large Leg O Lamb. I wanted to build FLAVORS, AND NOT COMPROMISE ON TASTE. This is one you may want to make for a VERY SPECIAL OCCASSION, SINCE IT IS SO TIME CONSUMING. BUT WELL WORTH EVERY MINUTE OF YOUR TIME I am sure you could also use Beef for this recipe if you so desired.