From the 1997 KLO dinner — Greece
(Eggplant & Lamb Casserole)
- 2 lbs eggplant
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 lb minced lamb
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 12 oz fresh tomatoes, peeled & sliced thin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- salt & ground black pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 oz grated Parmesan, Kefalotyri, or gruyere cheese
- chopped parsley
- 3 oz butter
- 3 oz flour
- 2 cups warm milk
- salt & ground white pepper
- 1 oz grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 oz grated Parmesan, Gruyere, or Kefalotyri cheese
- 4 Tbsp toasted breadcrumbs
Top and tail the eggplant. Rinse them and cut into 1/4″ slices and immerse in salted water for 30 minutes. Take out, squeeze gently, rinse, and squeeze again. Drain in a colander and pat dry. Fry in hot vegetable oil until they become pale golden on both sides. Drain on absorbent towels on a flat platter.
Saute the onion in 2 Tbsp oil until it looks glistening. Add the meat and saute together, stirring, until all lumps are broken down and the meat starts to change color. Add the wine, tomatoes, and spices. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the grated cheese and parsley.
Bechamel Sauce: Melt the butter and remove from heat. Gradually add the flour and stir to amalgamate. Return to the heat and gradually add the milk and seasonings, stirring continuously. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring, until it has thickened considerably. Remove from heat and let stand briefly; add the cheese and egg yolks. Stir to amalgamate.
To assemble, layer half the eggplant in a roasting pan. Spread half the meat mixture evenly on top, and cover with remaining eggplant. Spread the remaining meat on top. Top with the sauce. Sprinkle the grated cheese all over the top, and then the breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour, or until a golden crust has formed on top. Let stand 5 minutes.