Moussaka (version IX)

(2 votes)

3-4 large eggplants
olive oil for frying
1 1/4 cups short-grain brown rice
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup dried currants
3 tablespoons grated cheese
Bechamel Sauce
1 1/2 cups wholewheat pastry flour
8 tablespoons butter
3 1/2-4 cups warm milk
1 whole egg and 5 yolks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 pound hard cheese, grated (preferably Kefalotyri)

Cut each eggplant lengthwise into slices just under 1/2 inch thick. Place these in a container with plenty of water and sea salt - 1 teaspoon sea salt to 1 pint of water. Allow them to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes to remove any bitterness. Rinse well, dry with paper towels and then fry them in olive oil until tender.

Wash the rice well, cover by about 1 1/2 inches of cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes, onion and parsley, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally. When the water has evaporated, remove from heat and add the seeds, nuts, currants, and grated cheese.

Make the Bechamel sauce:

Place flour and butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until smooth. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. The sauce should be thick, but not solid (add a little milk if it gets too thick). Remove from heat and add egg, yolks, salt, pepper and cheese. Mix well and use immediately.

Take one eggplant slice at a time and form a layer in an ovenproof 10 X 12 baking pan with half of the slices (they should cover the surface). The second layer should then be made with the rice mixture. Spread it gently and evenly. With the remaining eggplant, make another layer on top of the rice. Finally spread a thick layer of sauce on the top.

Place in a 425 degree oven and cook until the surface turns golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting into portions.

Serves 8-12.

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