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Chania Moussaka

August 16, 2009

Andy and I went to see Julie & Julia this morning, leaving us very inspired to cook this evening! With our latest CSA delivery of eggplants, green peppers, Swiss chard, and carrots, we decided to make a Greek favorite of ours.

CSA Vegetables

On our honeymoon, we visited Chania, a Greek city on the island of Crete. We were so impressed with the Jewish history in Chania (there’s a beautiful, active synagogue there), and given that moussaka is a popular Greek dish and that we keep kosher, we decided to make “Chania Moussaka” — our kosher version of moussaka (which traditionally has ground lamb and Béchamel sauce). In order to keep some of the creaminess of the dish without dairy, we used some trans-fat free margarine in the cooking process. Normally we cook only with olive oil, but some recipes call for a creamier consistency that you can’t get with oil alone. Don’t be afraid to use margarine (or butter) in small amounts. Here’s how it turned out!

Moussaka

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants, cut into ¼-inch round slices
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus non-stick cooking spray as needed
  • ½ bunch of Swiss chard, chopped, or spinach
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • Ground cinnamon, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons trans-fat free margarine
  • 2 medium onions, sliced into half moons
  • Garlic cloves, sliced, to taste
  • 3 carrots, cut into ¼-inch round slices
  • 2 tablespoons currants or raisins
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce, canned or homemade
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons whole-wheat bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a rectangular baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Place the eggplant slices on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. Top with paper towel, and place a pan or other weight on top.  Let rest until ready to cook. The salting will draw out the bitterness from the eggplant, drawing out the salt with it.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the eggplant and sauté until slices are browned on both sides.  Add cooking spray as needed to keep sautéing the eggplant.
  5. Transfer the eggplant to the baking pan, forming a layer on the bottom of the pan. It’s ok if the eggplant overlaps slightly.
  6. Add the chopped Swiss chard and green peppers to the pan and sauté about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to baking dish and season with cinnamon. Spoon tomato sauce over the vegetables.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons of margarine to the pan. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes until onions are translucent. Set aside in a bowl.  Add the carrots and currants to the pan and sauté 3-4 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Set aside with onions.
  8. Add ground turkey to pan, breaking it up with a fork. Cook most of the way and then transfer to the baking dish, spreading the turkey evenly. Top with more sauce, followed by the onions, carrots, and currants. Press down to compact, and add more cinnamon to taste. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  9. Add the last tablespoon of margarine to the pan and heat until melted. Drizzle melted margarine over the breadcrumbs.
  10. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Uncover and cook for 15 minutes longer until golden brown and bubbling around the edges. Serve with bread or rice.

Do you have a favorite Greek recipe?

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  1. Yum!! I can’t wait to try this. Love the blog… it kind of looks like mine! I’d love to learn more about you and your career goals. It seems like we may have some stuff in common!