77. Greece: Moussaka

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Greece, I have always wanted to go to Greece. I’m obsessed all the old myths about their gods and legends. Medusa is my favorite  the woman with the snake hair when you looked her in the eyes you would turn to stone. I had a very large fantasy as a kid, so these myths would become vivid images in my head. I loved it! Since 2009 Greece is famous for not so good things. The economic crisis hit Greece very hard, they are struggling to keep up with the rest of Europe. But I am not here to advocate my political believes. Greece did so many cool things in the past they invented the Olympics for instance! I love the way my country (The Netherlands) get’s all excited and happy during the Olympics. We unite, support and celebrate the athletes!

SantoriniHere are some things you didn’t know about Greece:

  • If a Greek spits on you, don’t get mad, it’s supposed to chase misfortune away.
  • There are over 120 million olive trees in Greece some are from the 13th century and still produce olives
  • Nearly 17 million tourists visit Greece every year that’s 50% more than the population of the entire country
  • In ancient Greece, almost 80% of the population was made up by slaves
  • The Drachma is 2,560 years old, and it is the oldest currency in world! If Greece ever gets kicked out the the Eurozone it’s like that the country will revert to.

 

Moussaka is the Greek version of a lasagne, sooo good. It’s something my mom made when I was little. But I think my version is better. It might not be the traditional one but it’s amazing!

Moussaka

Ingredients:  2 extra large or 3 eggplants, 3 T olive oil or cooking spray, potatoes
Ingredients Meat Sauce: 2 T olive oil, 1 large onion diced, 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped, 400 ground lamb, 1 can of diced tomatoes, , 2 T tomato paste, ½ cup white wine, 2 T fresh chopped parsley, 1 tsp sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, cracked pepper
Ingredients Bechamel Sauce: 3 T butter, 4 T flour ( or rice flour), 2 C whole milk, ½ tsp nutmeg ( use fresh grated if possible), ¼ tsp kosher salt, ⅛ tsp white pepper, ¼ Cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino, 1 egg, lightly beaten
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pre heat oven to 400 F. Cut eggplant into ¼ inch thick rounds ( no thinner), sprinkle with a little kosher salt and let sit in a colander or bowl for 20-60 minutes. Eggplant will start to release liquid ( making it less bitter) Rinse well, pat dry and brush each side with olive oil ( or use spray oil).
  2. Place on a greased sheet pan and roast in a 400 F oven until golden, about 20-30 minutes.Alternatively you can grill the eggplant.
  3. While eggplant is roasting -make the meat sauce:
  4. Saute diced onion in oil on med high heat for 3-4 minutes, add garlic, turn heat down to med low and saute for 8-10 minutes until onions are tender. Add ground lamb, turn heat up to med-high and brown, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Drain fat if any. Add the rest of the ingredients -diced tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, fresh chopped parsley, sugar, cinnamon, kosher salt and pepper. Stir and cover and let simmer on med low heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Make Bechamal:
  6. Melt 3 T butter. Whisk in 4 T flour ( or rice flour) and let cook for 2-3 on med heat, stirring often. Whisk in 1 C milk. Whisk well, and add the 2nd cup. Stirring constantly bring to a boil, and let simmer on low for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add nutmeg, 2 T Cheese, salt, pepper. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, lightly beat an egg, but do not add it just yet.
  7. Assemble:
  8. Divide eggplant slices into three stacks, reserving the best looking largest pieces for the top an bottom layers. The others can be placed in the middle layer which will be concealed. In a greased 8x 13 in pan, place one layer of eggplant. Add half the meat sauce. Add another layer of eggplant, and the remaining meat sauce. Add the third and final layer of eggplant. Whisk in the beaten egg into the bechamel sauce until nice and smooth. Spread the bechamel over the final eggplant layer. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and place in a 350F oven for 50-60 minutes, until beautiful and gold. let stand 10 minutes before serving.
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