For Iftar last night, I made Moussaka using the recipe my sister in law taught me the last time she was here visiting, but with my tweaks. The thing is, there isn’t any measurements for the ingredients aside from the Bechamel Sauce. So, I will give you the recipe I used with my pictures, but you have to gauge the amounts for your own pans.
1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 green pepper
(saute together, drain, rinse, then mix with salt, pepper and garlic powder and put aside)
(slice and lay out, salt and let drain (wait about 15 minutes and then flip and salt and drain the other side))
Just before you layer, you will rinse the salt off, and pat the eggplant dry with towels.
While you are waiting on the eggplants, make the bechamel sauce.
2 c milk
1 c chicken broth
5 T corn starch
Bring the Milk to a scald, mix the corn starch and cold chicken broth into a slurry and stir into the milk. Let it thicken (about 5 minutes) stirring continuously. Salt to taste. Let this set and cool.
After it gets to room temperature, mix 2 large eggs into the bechamel. If you can’t wait for it to cool, temper the eggs before adding it to the hot sauce or they will scramble and you will have to start over!
Peel enough potatoes to make 2 layers and slice them about the same size as the eggplant. Let them rest in cool water so they don’t turn brown while you are preparing to layer.
I used a 9×12 ceramic pan.
Layer eggplant + potato + ground beef mixture (repeat) then top with Bechamel. Sprinkle with Paprika if you like.
Bake at 375 oven for about an hour. Test with a knife to see if the potatoes are done.
Khaled mentioned that the Bechamel should have been thicker, so if you like that thick layer, you might want to double the recipe. Also, by rinsing the salt off of the eggplant, it will not retain any saltiness so keep that in mind if your family likes their food salty and adjust the salt levels in the beef and bechamel. By not frying the eggplant and potatoes before assembly, this lightens up the recipe for those of us who don’t like heavy foods, but it adds to the cooking time by about 20 minutes.
We also made Sr. Becky’s No Bake Cookies for dessert while the Moussaka was baking. They were cooled off and ready to eat by the time we got to the end of dinner.
Before Iftar, I took the girls to deliver our first food gifts of the season! We made loaves of bread on Sunday night and took a loaf to our backyard neighbors. It’s funny because in the 3 years that that house has been owned by this family, we have been exchanging food with them every Ramadan. This last spring, the Grandma and Grandpa moved out, along with the parents and children we had become friendly with and a new set of people moved in. They are related somehow to the previous tenants, so I made the assumption that they too would be celebrating Ramadan, but when we took the loaf of bread over they were perplexed. We will see what happens next.
The second loaf was delivered to a new friend who coincidentally, lives on the same street as me! It’s completely cool how we met and found out that we live on the same street (I will get permission before I share the deets) but I ushered the ladies in the car and we drove the 1/2 block down to her house (to save time, we aren’t really that lazy) and knocked on her door. I didn’t know if she was home, but by the cars in the driveway it was hopeful. We waited a few minutes and then knocked again just in case, and New Friend opened the door! YAY! She was soo surprised and it was TOTALLY Awesome. I love this tradition we have going on so much.
So, today we have leftovers for Iftar. I’m going to assemble and cook a breakfast casserole for my Suhoor eaters and take my peeps to the zoo before the rain hits. I will share the recipe with my tweaks tomorrow, but if you can’t wait here’s the link.