Beazell's Cook Book

Ground Beef and Eggplant Casserole (Beef Moussaka with Bechamel Sauce)

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1 pound ground beef
1/2 large sweet onion (approximately 1 cup chopped)
2 tablespoons Beazell's Cajun Seasoning
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
8 to 10 ounces homemade or jarred Marinara sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium eggplant
2 cups fresh sliced Mozzarella cheese

Bechamel sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 egg yolks
(optional - dash of ground nutmeg)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brown ground beef with chopped onion in a skillet and drain off the fat. Return the beef and onion to the skillet. Add Beazell's, oregano, garlic powder and season with salt to taste. Cook down the mixture for about 10 minutes and then add 1/3 cup all-purpose flour and cook an additional 15 minutes to thicken the mixture. Add the marinara sauce and simmer to allow the mixture to warm through and continue to thicken up. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1/3 cup grated Parmesan.

Peel and slice the eggplant into 1/3 inch thick rounds. Lay eggplant on paper towels in a single layer and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let the eggplant sit for about 10 minutes. Blot any moisture from the eggplant.

Place a layer of eggplant into the bottom of a glass or metal loaf pan. Spoon a layer of the ground beef mixture over the eggplant. Next put a layer of the fresh sliced Mozzarella over the meat mixture. Continue repeating the layering of the eggplant then meat sauce then Mozzarella until the loaf pan is nearly full to the top. Leave about 1/2 inch space on the top for the Bechamel sauce topping.

To make the Bechamel sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter and add to the 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Stir together and allow to cook for about 5 minutes while continuously stirring. Add 1 cup of milk to the butter and flour and stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat. Add a dash of nutmeg (optional) and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese and stir well until incorporated into the sauce. Now add your two egg yolks into the sauce mixture and stir quickly.

Pour the Bechamel sauce over the top of the ground beef and eggplant casserole. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees just until the Bechamel sauce begins to brown. Remove from oven and allow the casserole to sit for about 15 - 20 minutes. Serve with a crusty French bread and a side salad.

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