Moussaka, a layered eggplant casserole, is traditional fare at every Greek taverna.
Making moussaka brings back memories of delightful evenings in the Plaka district, a charming section of Athens with narrow winding streets filled with tiny restaurants and lots of good cheer.
The dish has hundreds of variations. Usually slices of eggplant and sometimes potatoes are sauteed and layered with a spiced ground meat. The dish is topped with a white sauce flavored with Greek cheese or a yogurt sauce.
For this quick dinner, I have captured the flavors of a traditional moussaka and shortened the recipe by cutting the potatoes and eggplant into small pieces and cooking them separately to form the first layer. The spiced meat becomes the second layer, and I topped the dish with yogurt and cheese.
I used Greek feta cheese. It is white, crumbly and has a rich, tangy flavor. Traditional feta is made with sheep’s or goat’s milk, although today many manufacturers use cow’s milk. Grated parmesan can also be used.
Moussaka is a meal in itself. If you wish, serve it with a salad and crusty whole grain bread. It takes a few minutes longer to make this one-dish meal. The extra time is worth the effort.
This meal contains 556 calories with 23 percent of calories from fat.
• To save cleaning an extra pan, cook the potatoes and eggplant in a stove-to-oven casserole dish. Or use a regular skillet if the handle can go in the oven and will fit under the broiler.
• Preheat broiler.
• Start potatoes and eggplant.
• Make meat.
• Complete dish and place under broiler.
Wine suggestions: To be authentic, you might try retsina, a white Greek wine that has pine sap added; it does taste piny, so it’s not for everybody.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.
To buy: 1/2 pound red potatoes, 3/4 pound eggplant, 1/2 pound low-fat, ground beef (95 percent lean), 1 small can tomato paste, 8-ounce carton nonfat plain yogurt, 1 small package crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
Staples: Frozen diced/chopped onion, minced garlic, olive oil spray, ground cinnamon, salt and black peppercorns.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
For a printable copy of the recipe, click the link: