TURKISH EGGPLANT AND GROUND BEEF CASSEROLE RECIPE

MAIN DISHES

This delicious Moussaka or layered meat and eggplant casserole are something that you should not miss at least once in your lifetime. If you are not familiar with this dish commonly served in the eastern Mediterranean region, Turkey, Greece and Balkans, take a look at how it is prepared.

Servings: 8

Ingredients

5 eggplants

2 cups vegetable oil for frying 1 chopped onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 Hungarian pepper or other green, sweet pepper

1 pound lean ground beef

1 large grated tomato

1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon tomato paste 3 grated large tomatoes 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon oregano

3 tablespoon butter or margarine

3 tablespoon flour

3 cups of milk

1 cup grated Turkish kaşar, or yellow cheese Garnish:

Sweet red pepper strips Slices green pepper

Directions

Peel the eggplants using a peeler starting at the end. Remove a strip of skin from end to end, leaving a strip of skin of the same width and then peel another strip of skin from end to end to resemble a stripe pattern.

Repeat this step for the rest of the eggplant, and then slice them about ¼ inches thick.

Place the eggplant slices in a large mixing bowl with salty water and soak for half an hour to remove the bitter taste.

Prepare the green pepper by slicing into rings.

Heat in a large frying pan the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onion until tender. Add the green pepper rings and sauté until soft. Add the ground beef to the mixture, sauté until browned.

Pour the tomato paste, spices and grated tomato. Stir and cover the pan, bring to a simmer for ten minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Place the three grated tomatoes in a small saucepan and add the tomato paste, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer for ten minutes and remove from heat.

Drain the eggplant slices and blot dry with paper towels.

Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil and fry the dried eggplant slices until both sides

are golden brown and tender. Drain excess oil on paper towels.

Place the fried eggplant on the bottom of a large baking tray to form a single layer, no gaps in between.

Evenly spread the tomato sauce over the fried eggplants.

Evenly spread the meat mixture over the tomato sauce layer. Set aside.

Melt in a large pan the butter on high heat, adding the flour and turn with wooden spoon.

Pour the milk and seasonings, while whisking until the béchamel sauce is smooth and thick, similar to the pudding consistency.

Evenly spread the hot béchamel sauce all over the meat layer and evenly cover the béchamel sauce with grated cheese.

Bake at 360 degrees F until the surface of casserole becomes golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for ten minutes.

Cut casserole into squares.

Serve with Turkish-style rice pilaf. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information: 941 calorie; 76 g fat (12 g saturated fat); 75 mg

cholesterol; 405 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrate; 13 g dietary fiber; 28 g protein.

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