Individual Meatless MoussakaOct 10th, 2012 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Baking, Beans, Cheese, Dairy, Eggplant, Eggs, Featured, Flour, Garlic, Greek, Greek Wine, Herbs, How To, Main, Mushrooms, Olive Oil, Potato, Vegetables, Vegetarian
I recall seeing these really stylish pieces of Moussaka that were perfectly plated in a Greek food magazine a couple of years ago and (finally) I got around to trying my hand at these stylish individual portions using these metal ring molds used often by chefs. These ring molds are used to structure a salad, a tartar or in today’s instance, Moussaka!
You can get very pretty Moussaka pieces if you carefully layer the ingredients in a large baking tray and patiently wait for it to rest before apportioning but these beauties take the presentation to another level. These individual Moussakas are round but I suppose one could also buy the square ones. Your call.
This method can be applied to the classic meat Moussaka but today we’re featuring a vegetarian version and one that’s every bit as filling as the meat version. The meat is replaced with a mushroom and bean sauce that’s thick, flavourful and aromatic with hints of allspice, bay, oregano and cinnamon.
The base has some sliced potatoes and the I’m using both eggplant and zucchini slices for variety and more colour. There’s some breadcrumbs in the assembly and the chief purpose is to absorb any water that may be released from the veggies. The Bechamel is classic with roux being made followed by milk, nutmeg, cheese and finally eggs being stirred-in.
Individual Meatless Moussaka
Mushroom & Green Bean Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion (1 cup) diced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and passed through a box grater
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
2-3 bay leaves
3 cups of assorted mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup dried mushrooms
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 cups of crushed (canned) plum tomatoes
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 lb. of green beans, trimmed and blanched (boil in salted water until just tender and strain well)
pinch of ground cinnamon
coarse sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
5 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
5 Japanese eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
5 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
salt and pepper
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
5 cups of whole milk (warm)
3 eggs (room temp.), beaten
1/2 cup grated Kefalotyri (or Romano cheese)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Kefalotyri cheese (or Romano) for topping
- Place a large skillet on your stove-top over medium-high heat and add the olive oil, onions, garlic, carrot, celery, mushrooms and bay leaves and saute for 8-10 minutes while stirring. Season with some sea salt and fresh ground pepper and reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer the vegetables for another 5 minutes or until almost all the liquid has cooked off.
- In the meantime, to rehydrate your dried mushrooms, boil 2 cups water and place in a bowl with your dried mushrooms and cover. Allow to steep for 10 minutes and pour the mushroom stock through a fine mesh strainer and chop and add the re-hydrated mushrooms along with the wine, allspice and bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid to half. Add some more salt and pepper to taste.
- Now add the crushed plum tomatoes, thyme leaves and bring back to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick (about 30 minutes). Adjust seasoning once again with salt and pepper, stir in the dried oregano and remove the bay leaves.
- In the meantime, cut your zucchini and eggplants in approx. 1/4 inch rounds (ensure you choose vegetables that are of similar diameter) and lightly oil, season with salt and pepper. Lightly grill or bake (middle rack) in a preheated 400F for 2-3 minutes/side. Reserve on a paper towel lined plate.
- Roughly chop the green beans and add to the sauce along with a pinch of cinnamon, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and reserve.
- For the Bechamel , in a medium pot, add your butter over medium heat and when it’s melted add the flour and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes or until the flour has turned a light brown. Grab a whisk and pour in a steady stream of milk into your roux. If you still get some lumps, use a potato masher to break them up.
- Continue stirring until your Bechamel has become thick or until the sauce coats the back of the spoon. Take the Bechamel Sauce off the heat and pour a steady stream of the beaten eggs into the mixture. Add half the grated Kefalotyri, nutmeg and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Place a kitchen towel over the pot and cover with the lid and reserve (prevents condensation from diluting your Bechamel). Pre-heat your oven to 375 F, middle rack.
- To assemble your individual Moussaka, place the ring molds on a lightly greased baking tray and place the sliced potatoes in a circular overlapping fashion to cover the bottom and season lightly with salt and pepper. Now place a layer of overlapping eggplant slices to form the next layer. Now spoon some mushroom and bean sauce followed by a sprinkle of breadcrumbs. Now place a layer of overlapping slices of zucchini followed by another sprinkle of breadcrumbs. Now spoon another layer of mushroom and bean sauce and finally top with Bechamel Sauce. Repeat filling the other ring molds.
- Place in your pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until tops are golden-brown. Remove and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Carefully slide a spatula under a serving and lift and place on a serving plate. Run a knife around the side to loosen the mould and slowly lift the mold up. Repeat with remaining servings.
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© 2012, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.