Monday, June 20, 2011

Mushroom Moussaka

I am taking full advantage of these last few days of freedom before I start summer quarter. I had some free time yesterday and decided, on a bit a of whim, to make Mushroom Moussaka. This recipe required quite a bit of multitasking, but luckily, it's my middle name!

There are three layers in this moussaka: roasted eggplant, mushroom sauce, and béchamel sauce. I began by slicing and sweating out the eggplant. Sweating it meant sprinkling it with salt and letting it rest in a colander for 30 minutes.

Then the eggplant was dried off and roasted in the oven.

While the eggplant roasted, I prepared the mushroom sauce.  I coarsely chopped mushrooms and cooked them on the stove with onion, canned diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. The sauce was seasoned with oregano, basil, and an unlikely sprinkle of ... cinnamon!

Then I made the béchamel sauce. This was very similar to other cheese sauces I have made before: butter, flour, milk, and in this case, parmesan cheese. I also added a swift dash of nutmeg to the sauce.

So now I had all of the components to put together the moussaka!  Even though I halved the recipe, it was clear that this would only fit into a big pan. I started with a double layer of eggplant on the bottom:

Then all of the mushroom sauce:

Followed by the rest of the roasted eggplant (I miscalculated this part a little bit!) :
Then all of the béchamel sauce:

Then the whole thing got covered it a dusting of breadcrumbs and parmesan. While it bakes, you can eat a kiwi play Spider Solitaire. Just sayin'. It'll come out bubbly and browned and oh so divine!

I ate a portion of the moussaka hot. It later reheated beautifully and tasted like a complex combination of veggies with just the right amount of cinnamon!

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