Moussaka is the ideal winter dish—a rich stick-to-your-ribs concoction. According to
In Turkey, moussaka is usually layered in a rather deep, cylindrical mold, much like a charlotte tin or souffle dish, for baking and then unmolded. This makes for a dramatic presentation, but it is harder to serve. If the moussaka has not compacted well, after the first cut it may collapse. So I have taken the coward’s way out and prepared it in a baking dish: no stress, no unmolding necessary, and definitely easier to serve. Incidentally, while this dish is very tasty after the first baking, it becomes even tastier reheated on the second day, when the flavors have had a chance to meld and mellow.
Preheat the broiler and broil the remaining 2 or 3 eggplants, turning often, until they are very soft and have collapsed, about 20 minutes. Alternatively, cook them slowly on a stove-top cast-iron griddle, turning them often. Transfer the eggplants to a colander to drain. When cool enough to handle, strip away the skin and remove the large seed pockets. Drain the pulp in the colander for 20 minutes to release the bitter juices, then transfer to a chopping board and chop. You will want about
Line the bottom of the dish with one-third of the fried eggplant slices. Layer half of the meat mixture on top and sprinkle with half of the bread crumbs. Layer on half of the remaining eggplant slices and top with remaining meat mixture. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs and arrange the remaining eggplant slices on top. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in a large roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
© 2000 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.