This recipe is taken from Shannon Hayes’ cookbook Long Way on a Little: An earth lover’s companion for enjoying meat, pinching pennies and living deliciously, available directly from the author here, as well as through all major booksellers.
I love going down to my local farm stand and taking in the piles of eggplants that nearly spill off the table this time of year. Since this time also coincides with our peak lamb harvest, I take every chance I can get to pair the two together.
Most people make moussaka with ground lamb or beef. Done this way, it tastes delicious. However, it is also a wonderful way to use leftovers. If you roast a gorgeous leg of lamb for your Sunday dinner, consider mincing up the leftovers for this dish, and you’ll get several more meals out of it. (Oh! And don’t forget to save your lamb bone for broth!)
5 tablespoons lard, butter or 3 tablespoons lard or butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground beef, lamb, or pork (or a combination thereof), cooked and crumbled, or 2 pounds cooked lamb, beef, pork, chicken, or turkey (or a combination thereof), finely diced
2 cups diced fresh or canned tomatoes
1 cup meat broth
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons potato flour (any other conventional flour will also work)
2 cups heavy cream (or milk)
3 eggs, beaten
Coarse Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggplants (about 1¼ pounds each), peeled and sliced into thin rounds
Preheat oven to 350° F. Heat 2 tablespoons of the fat or olive oil, if using, in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the onions and sauté until clear, then stir in the garlic. Sauté 1 minute longer and stir in the meat, tomatoes, broth, herbs and cinnamon. Set aside.
Heat the remaining fat in a saucepan over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, blend in the flour until smooth and stir until lightly browned, about a minute. Slowly whisk in the cream, bring to a simmer, and cook 3-5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Slowly whisk a quarter cup of the hot sauce it into the eggs, then stir them into the sauce. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, and simmer until thick and creamy. Turn off the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in half of the parmesan.
Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and arrange half the eggplant on the bottom. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then top with all of the meat sauce. Arrange the remaining eggplant over the top, then pour the custard evenly over it and smooth it with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining parmesan . Cover and bake 1 hour, then remove the cover and bake until the top has lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes longer.