Saturday, February 15, 2014

Paleo Moussaka

When I studied abroad in Greece, I discovered an amazing dish called Moussaka. Traditionally, this casserole is made with spiced ground lamb, eggplant, potatoes, and a creamy milk and flour based bechamel sauce on top.  It is hearty and homey like a good lasagna but with a more "exotic" flavor set.  A few weeks ago, Rem discovered a recipe for a paleo moussaka on the blog Real Food Forager.  We adapted it slightly to make a LOT more and to use ingredients we had on hand.  We've actually made it twice in the past few weeks and it turned out fantastic both times.  The bechamel sauce is unreal. As you can see in the pictures, broiling the moussaka for the last few minutes gives the bechamel that crusty, delicious brown on top which is reminiscent of broiled cheese.  There is still some in the fridge that I may need to go eat right now...  By the way, this tastes great cold as well as piping hot.  Is it weird that I tend to eat all of my leftovers cold?  Does anyone else do that?

Before baking.

After baking.  Mmmm....

Paleo Moussaka

Slightly adapted from Grassfed Girl via Real Food Forager

2 T coconut oil
2 small onions of 1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and pepper
2 lb. antibiotic and hormone-free ground turkey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 6 oz. can organic tomato paste
1 15 oz. can organic no salt added tomato sauce
2 medium eggplants, skin peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

2 cans full fat coconut milk
1/2 c arrowroot powder (I buy Bob'd Red Mill brand, which I have found at Kroger, Earth Fare, and Meijer)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Melt coconut oil in large saute pan.  Add onions and garlic, saute 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cook, breaking up turkey, until ground turkey is cooked through. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, and 1/2 can of water.  Stir and cook this for about 5 minutes more.
Meanwhile, grease 2 13x9 inch pans with coconut oil.  Peel and chop the eggplant into bite-sized pieces.  Place 1/2 of the eggplant pieces into each pan.  Then pour the meat mixture on top of the eggplant in each pan, splitting the amount evenly between the 2 pans.  

To make the bechamel sauce, mix 1 can of coconut milk with the 1/2 c arrowroot powder.  Pour of other can of coconut milk into a large sauce pan and heat until it starts to bubble (but not a full blown boil).  At this point, add the coconut milk/arrowroot powder mixture and whisk continuously until the sauce is very thick. Then remove the sauce from the heat, crack the 2 eggs into it, and whisk until the eggs are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Pour the bechamel sauce over the meat mixture in each pan, splitting the amount evenly between the 2 pans.  

Bake both pans, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, remove the pans from the oven, move the oven rack up one slot, and set the oven to BROIL.  Put the pans back in the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes or until the bechamel starts to brown (but not until it gets burnt).  Makes 8-12 servings.

Serve hot!  This also makes great leftovers.

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