Moussakka, Lebanese Style!

5 Jun

I recently came back from a wonderful vacation to Amsterdam and Limone, Italy. After enjoying amazing Italian cuisine, the first thing I wanted to do when I got home was cook. My tastebuds were averse to anything processed, as we have so much of in the west. I needed to make sure that any food passing my lips would be fresh, tasty and healthy. The first dish I made is Lebanese style Moussakka. This is one of my favorites and I usually make it once a month for my hubby and I. It’s rich in texture, tasty with flavour and healthy, being made from vegetables and chick peas.  It tastes as yummy as it looks!!!

Recipe: 2 large eggplant, 2 med. cooking onions- diced, 10-12 garlic cloves- chunky diced, 1 large can chick peas, 2 med cans of tomatoes (I use San Marzano canned tomatoes from Italy), 2 tsp salt, 2.5 tsp of brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp allspice, 0.5 tsp fresh cracked black pepper, 400ml water, 8 tbsps olive oil, 1 lemon, fresh parsley or cilantro to garnish.

Set aside salt, cinnamon, allspice, pepper in small bowl. Cut eggplant into cubes, leaving skin on. Saute eggplant cubes until brown in oil in a deep saute pan. Set aside on papertowels to drain.

Add oil onion and garlic to pan, saute about 5 mins or until onions translucent. Add chick peas, stir for 5 mins. Add sugar, then eggplant. Stir. Add tomatoes, and spices, and half of the lemon. I also add some crushed red pepper to give it a little kick!! 🙂 Add water and bring to a boil, then lower temperature to simmer for 30 mins. In preheated oven (325F), place saute pan uncovered and let bake for up to 2 hours, until eggplant is tender and melted into moussakka. Mixture will turn a deep colour as in the photo above. If you prefer eggplant chunky, remove earlier. I love them almost melted and velvety. Garnish with cilantro and spritz with other half of the lemon.

It’s fabulous on rice, mashed potatoes or with your favorite breads!

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