Last night I decided to try my hand at making moussaka. I've never made it before and thought it would be fun to try. I found a fairly easy looking and tasty sounding recipe on the Cooking Light website (posted in the entry before) and set off to buy the ingredients at the semi awful Shaws across the street.
Believe me when I say it's kinda bad at that Shaws. Ask anyone, who knows Fenway, if they've ever been to that supermarket and watch them shudder. Yeah. Anyway, I seem to do okay there and am good about subbing in and out things in recipes based on what looks sorta decent. But I was really bummed that Shaws didn't have any ground lamb. A little lackluster ground beef package hit my grocery cart. Although I will say that there were some very cute looking lambchops, and I was tempted to buy those and say screw you moussaka! But I stuck to the game plan and decided I'd consider lambchops next week.
I got the rest of my ingredients and while in the baking aisle (one of my favorite aisles) getting spices, I spied cans of sweetened condensed milk. Oh boy. As some of my friends know (I'm looking at you Caroline!). I have a little bit of a drug problem in the form of caramelized sweetened condensed milk or dulce de leche. Oh man! I read somewhere a long time ago that if you boil cans of this milk for a couple of hours and open, they result in brown caramel-y goodness. The first time I ever did it, I ate an entire tin can all by myself and all in one day. I have very little self restraint around foods I love but an entire can of dulce de leche?!?! Yeah, it's a problem. And somehow, who knows how, two cans of sweetened condensed milk end up in my cart with the sad little beef square.
And somehow, who knows how, as I was making my moussaka, those cans of milk made it into a boiling pot of water. Perhaps via the hand of God?
Alright so there were many steps involved with this moussaka but it seems that all moussaka is labor intensive. I browned the meat and threw the onions in with it. I didn't bother to drain it b/c it was a fairly lean pack of meat. I kept referring back to the recipe from my computer, why waste paper if the recipe sucks and perhaps I missed a part where it told me to drain the diced tomatoes. I threw the entire four cans in with gusto.
The sauce was the most interesting part for me because it was a low fat white sauce recipe that called for three egg whites. The sauce turned out fairly tasty but there wasn't a lot of it. I debated making another batch but decided that I didn't want to deviate from the recipe too much.
This is my moussaka pre-cooked and settling into the oven.
This is my moussaka after. I was so excited about this dish. I couldn't wait to taste it. And?
It was good but not great. The first piece revealed an ocean of liquid in the pan. I ended up draining out a lot of water before I stored the rest of it away. And yes, I should have made a double batch of the sauce! It wasn't nearly enough for this thick and filling casserole. The flavor was very good and the texture was great. I liked the addition of the raisins a lot. I think with some rework, this might be a fairly kick ass recipe.
So my moussaka was a little eh, you know what wasn't? God's intervention of Dulce de Leche for me!
Poppin the lid of one container revealing...a biblical proportion miracle! Milk becomes my personal crack cocaine! Oye, as if I needed any other vehicle, other than my spoon (alright sometimes my finger!) for this stuff , I picked up some sugar cookie dough at the supermarket (laziness prevails sometimes!) and sandwiched a little of the dulce de leche between two fresh out of the oven cookies.
And settled in for some I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. What could be better on a freakin crazy cold night in Boston? Sometimes God is good, really good!