Saturday, January 4, 2014

Dried Eggplant with an Attitude - Moussaka (eggplant casserole)


 This is an eggplant casserole. Note both eggplant and bell peppers are dried and need to be rehydrated. You can use fresh bell peppers if you have them.

     2 tablespoons dried bell pepper pieces, ¼-inch thick
    3 tablespoons water
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 cup onion, chopped fine
    1 tablespoon garlic
    1 pound ground meat, lamb or beef
    2 tablespoons dried parsley, crushed
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    3 cups canned tomatoes
    3 cups water
    24 2 by 7-inch dried eggplant slices
    2 cups ricotta cheese
    3 egg whites, beaten
    ½ cup Parmesan cheese

Put pepper pieces and water in a bowl and rehydrate 30 minutes.  Place oil and onion in a pan and sauté for 3 minutes.  Stir, add peppers and garlic.  Cook and then add ground meat.  Stir and break into small pieces.  Add parsley, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and sauté until well browned.   Add tomatoes and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates.  Remove from heat.

In a separate pan, bring 3 cups water to a boil.  Add dried eggplant slices one at a time and with a slotted spoon or a tongs remove the slices as soon as they have softened.  Generally this takes 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove slices and lay them flat on a cutting board to cool.  Beat egg whites and gently fold into the cheese.  Oil the inside of a casserole dish.  Dip the eggplant slices in a little olive oil, then layer the slices in the dish with an extra layer on the bottom, then a layer of meat mixture, a layer of cheese, another layer of eggplant, repeating until all ingredients are used.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes covered, remove cover and bake 20 minutes more or until the top turns golden.  Cool before serving.

A recipe from the "Dry Store".

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