As I mentioned in my post on Monday, with the snow coming, it's time to break out the crock pot as well as the casserole dishes. I find the warmth and comfort from these type so food to be just what I need when the weather turns colder. Plus, since I work full time as well, a slice of casserole makes for a delicious leftover lunch. A Moussaka is an awesome dish when made traditionally, however with zucchini substituted in for the traditional eggplant and potatoes, it gets a fresh spin and a lighter taste. This recipe as written will fit a lasagna sized casserole dish. I halved it since it was just hubby and I so don't let the dish size in the pictures confuse you.
Add celery, onion and garlic to a well heated and slightly oiled deep saucepan. Cook until onions are translucent.
Take 2 lbs ground beef and saute in 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook about 10 minutes. Add 1 -15oz can of diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp of tomato paste, 1/2 cup red wine, 1 tsp allspice, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp cinnamon, dash of salt and ground black pepper. Simmer 40 minutes.Topping:
In one sauce pan, heat 4 cups of milk with 2 bay leaves and a 1/2 tsp of allspice berries. In another saucepan, melt 8 Tbsp (1 stick) of butter. Add 1 cup flour in the butter mix and whisk till thick. Slowly pour the milk into the flour butter mix (remove the bay leaves and berries) and whisk constantly until thick. Add 3 Tbsp Kefaloytri cheese or fresh shredded parmesan and a pinch of nutmeg.
Heat oven to 350°F.
Cover bottom of prepared baking dish with the zucchini slices. Spoon the meat filling, then pour on the topping and sprinkle with cheese. If you have a really deep dish, you can put another layer of zucchini and meat on top of the first two layers, then cover with the topping.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly and top is lightly golden.
This classic Greek casserole is traditionally made with eggplant, which has to be salted and fried. Zucchini replaces it in this recipe and makes for a lighter dish. The flavor was great. I served it with a Cesar salad. It was comfort food made light. And it made great leftovers too.