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      RECIPE TITLE "Baked Lamb and Eggplant Recipe"
    Source: Casual Cuisines of the World - Taverna, courtesy of

    yieldsServes 8-10 time--- difficultymoderate

    This famous Greek dish is believed to have been carried to Greece by the Arabs in the Middle Ages. Moussaka can be prepared in advance and gently reheated before serving.


    3 lb eggplants

    For Meat Sauce:
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3 large yellow onions, chopped
    2 lb ground lean lamb
    3 cups canned chopped plum tomatoes (Roma)
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    4 cloves garlic, finely minced
    1/2 cup red wine
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    3/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    Pinch of ground cloves or allspice
    Olive oil for brushing

    For Béchamel Sauce:
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    3 cups hot milk
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
    1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs
    1 cup freshly grated kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese

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    Peel the eggplants and cut into slices 1/2 inch thick. Place the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 1 hour to drain off the bitter juices.

    FOR MEAT SAUCE: In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the lamb and cook until the meat loses its redness and starts to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, wine, oregano, parsley, cinnamon and ground cloves or allspice and simmer over low heat until thickened and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. If it begins to look too dry, add a little water. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper and the spices. Set aside.

    Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the eggplant slices with cool water, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Place on baking sheets, brush the tops with olive oil and bake in the oven, turning once and brushing on the second side with oil, until tender, golden and translucent, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

    FOR BECHAMEL SAUCE: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. (Do not brown.) Gradually whisk in the hot milk and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add the nutmeg, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and ricotta until well blended, then whisk into the hot sauce.

    Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

    TO ASSEMBLE: Oil an 11-by-15-inch baking dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs on the bottom of the dish. Arrange half of the eggplant slices in the dish and spoon the meat sauce over them. Layer the remaining eggplant slices on top and pour the béchamel evenly over the surface. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup bread crumbs and then with the cheese.

    Bake until heated through and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

    Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

      Nutrition Facts
    Serves 8-10
    Facts per Serving
    Calories: 462 Fat: 23g Carbohydrates: 29g
    Cholesterol: 159mg Sodium: 478mg Protein: 34g
    Fiber: 6g % Cal. from Fat: 45% % Cal. from Carbs: 25%

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    In beautiful prose and with more than four hundred unusual recipes— many of them never before recorded — invites us to a Greece few visitors ever get to see. Along the way she serves up feast after feast of food, history, and culture from a land where the three have been intertwined since time immemorial.

    In an informed introduction, she sets the historic framework of the cuisine, so that we clearly see the differences among the earthy mountain cookery, the sparse, ingenious island table, and the sophisticated aromaticcooking traditions of the Greeks in diaspora. In each chapter she takes stock of the local pantry and cooking customs. From the olive-laden Peloponnesos, she brings us such unusual dishes as One-Pot Chicken Simmered with Artichokes and served with Tomato-Egg-Lemon Sauce and VineLeaves Stuffed with Salt Cod. From the Venetian-influenced Ionian islands, she offers up such delights asPastry-Cloaked Pasta from Corfu filled with cheese and charcuterie and delicious Bread Pudding from Ithaca with zabaglione. Her mainland recipes, as well as those that hail from Greece's impenetrable northwestern mountains, offer an enticing array of dozens of delicious savory pies, unusual greens dishes, and succulent meat preparations such as Lamb with Garlic and Cheese Baked in Paper. In Macedonia she documents the complex, perfumed, urbane cuisine that defines that region. In the Aegean islands, she serves up a wonderful repertory of exotic yet simple foods, reminding us how accessible — and healthful — is the Greek fegional table.

    The result is a cookbook unlike any other that has ever been written on Greek cuisine, one that brims with the author's love and knowledge of her subject, a tribute to the vibrant, multifaceted continuum of Greek cooking, both highly informed and ever inviting. The Glorious Foods of Greece is an important work, one that contributes generously to the culinary literature and is sure to become the definitive book of Greek cuisine and culture for future generations of food lovers — Greek and non-Greek alike.


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