this dish is cooked in 4 components.. 4 easy components that add up to about 1 hour of hands on prepping and cooking in the kitchen. as long as you know you need at least 1 hour in the kitchen and you love to throw yourself into a zen mode while cooking, then your gonna love making this Classic Greek Comfort Dish.
over the Summer, our Greek Cypriot relatives were here visiting and they showed me step by step how they make a few of our favorite Classic Greek Dishes, moussaka being the first. i found it so interesting that they used no garlic, white wine, zucchini along with the eggplant and halloumi (Cypriot, grilling cheese).
I added the garlic, omitted the zucchini and kept the tradition with using the halloumi. I also replaced the white wine for ouzo (anise flavored liqueur) but something tells me, they would be proud of me for that…
the result: rich, decadent, cinnamon sweet creamy, comfort food that can feed a small army or big family, lol. if you love greek food or just love fried eggplant, potatoes, ground beef all smothered in a sweet and cinnamony cream sauce then your gonna love this. OPA!
1st step: bake the potatoes
2nd step: pan-fry the eggplant
3rd step: brown ground beef
4th step: make the cinnamon béchamel
Place in the oven to bake, 45 – 50 minutes
recipe by shereen pavlides
4 tablespoons olive oil – divided
3 russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) – peeled, 1/4-inch sliced rounds, dried
kosher salt / freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs – room temperature, divided
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds) – 1/2-inch sliced rounds
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 onion – diced (1 cup)
3 garlic cloves – minced
2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon – divided
1/4 cup ouzo
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup flour
4 cups whole milk – warmed
2 tablespoons sugar
8.8 ounces halloumi – grated, divided
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Brush two large non-stick rimmed baking sheets with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Divide and evenly place potatoes among both. Brush top of potatoes with remaining olive oil and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 8 turns on the pepper mill on both sides. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes, turning over 3/4 of the way of the cook time. Remove. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
3. Whisk 2 eggs in a wide shallow bowl and pour bread crumbs into another wide shallow bowl. Dredge and coat each eggplant round into eggs, removing excess, then dredge into bread crumbs, shaking off excess. Remove to plate.
4. In a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, add 1 1/2 cups canola oil. When oil is heated add eggplant and fry until golden, 2 minutes on each side. Working in 3 batches. Remove to paper towel lined plate and season each batch with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Degrease and wipe pan clean, reserving 2 tablespoons oil and pan.
5. In reserved pan over medium heat, add reserved oil and onions. Sauté until tender, 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds.
6. Increase heat to high and add ground beef. Season with 2 teaspoons salt, 6 turns on the pepper mill and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Sauté until browned, 5 minutes. Deglaze with ouzo (be careful of flare-ups) and reduce by half, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, oregano and warm through, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside.
7. Meanwhile: In a 4-quart pot over medium – low heat, melt butter. Slowly whisk in flour and cook roux until nutty, 1 minute, whisking periodically. Slowly whisk in milk, season with 1 teaspoon salt, sugar and remaining cinnamon. Bring slightly to a boil (Note: the consistency should be like thick yogurt) and cook until raw flour flavor disappears, 5 minutes, constantly whisking. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly. Add remaining eggs, one at a time while constantly whisking until smooth.
To assemble: layer potatoes in the bottom of a lightly oiled 3 quart baking dish, slightly over lapping. Sprinkle half of the halloumi over the potatoes, Using a slotted spoon, spread ground beef over cheese, sprinkle remaining halloumi over beef, top with eggplant (slightly overlapping) and evenly pour and spread béchamel over top. Bake until golden, 45 – 50 minutes
Prep time: 30 minutes
Hands on cooking time: 30 minutes
Bake time:1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 8 – 10