Greek Goddess – Moussaka

Ingredients

Meat filling:

Olive oil
6 bay leaves
2 sticks cinnamon
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 lb ground beef
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1 (28oz) can tomatoes, crushed

Bechamel:

8 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup GF flour
4 cups milk, hot
4 eggs, beaten

Rest:

3 large eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch -thick slices
2 medium zucchini
1 cup grated Kerry Gold or Gruyere cheese
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

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Directions

For Meat Sauce

Heat 3 tbsp. oil and a bit of butter in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beef and cook until all liquid evaporates and meat is browned. Add tomato paste, ground cinnamon to taste (don't over do it) and cook until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add sugar, tomatoes, and 1 cup of water (boiled).

Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered partially, until almost all liquid is evaporated, about 15 min. Remove from heat, discard cinnamon and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

For Bechamel

Heat butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add GF flour, and constantly stir until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt, a bit of cinnamon and warm milk.

Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into a blender with eggs. Blend until smooth and set bechamel aside.

Eggplant and Zucchini preparation

Heat oven to 375F. Heat iron cast skillet over medium-high heat. and grill eggplant and zucchini slices until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain, add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

To assemble

Spread 1/2 cup to 1 cup of bechamel sauce on bottom of your baking dish; sprinkle with a handful of shredded cheese and place the eggplant over it. Pour half of your meat sauce over eggplant. Than add another layer, this time of eggplant and zucchini together, and top it with rest of our meat sauce. Pour remaining bechamel sauce over the meat sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until golden brown, about 30-40 min.

Benefits

Cinnamon: is powerful anti oxidant, also has anti inflammatory properties and anti diabetic effect (lowers insulin resistance) . It helps fight bacterial and fungal infections and may be protective against cancer.

Eggplant: contains certain essential phyto nutrients which improve blood circulation and nourish the brain. It is rich in fiber, minerals, iron and calcium. It is low in calories, with just 35 per cup. It contains no fat and its high fiber content can help you feel full.