Greek beef moussaka


 

After a lot of research, notes and reading a bunch of recipes of moussaka, here we go a personal variation:

  • 3 lb of potatoes, mashed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup of red wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tomatoes cubed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • approx. 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano cheese

When the pan is hot, add the oil and using a wooden spoon, sauté the onions until translucent; add the meat and continue to sauté until lightly browned. Add wine, tomato paste, cubed tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon, bay leaves, allspice and mix well. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 40-45 minutes. After the sauce starts to thicken, take of heat and put it aside. In a big dutch oven, put one layer of mashed potatoes, one of meaty sauce, another layer of mashed potatoes and finally the last layer of meat and the final top layer of mashed potatoes. Some people would like all this with sauce bechamel, but me and my family we are not really a fan of that sauce, so we topped up the moussaka with a lot of Parmigiano cheese. For the mashed potatoes, we used some milk, sour cream and butter, but everybody can be creative and use whatever they have on hand or in the fridge.

 

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Cabbage rolls “romanian style”


Let me tell you something: this is my #1 preferred recipe by far!! As a note, this is an original recipe from many generations of my wife’s family and this is “THE” cabbage rolls recipe.

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 medium onions and 5 green onions finally chopped
  • 2 cans tomato paste 70 g each
  • 1 cup of rice simmered beforehand
  • 1 green zucchini grated
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • salt, pepper
  • 300 ml water or stock if preferred
  • 1 medium Pickled cabbage
  • ½ rack smoked ribs
  • 2 pounds fresh plum tomato

In a large mixing bowl combine onion, tomato paste, rice , zucchini, parsley and dill (finely chopped) and pepper. Add the meat to the mixture blending thoroughly until well incorporated by adding the water to the combination gradually. If you prefer the rolls not so sour, then leave the leafs in cold water for few hours. To roll the cabbage: place a cabbage leaf in front of you, rib face to you. Place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of the leaf. Roll up the cabbage leaf, tucking both ends. Using a Dutch oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees F, layer the remaining cabbage leafs at the bottom of the dish and organize the rolls tightly in top of each other. Top with the smoked ribs. Add tomato sauce made from fresh plum tomato. Cover and bake for 3-4 hours or until rice is cooked through and the cabbage is tender.

Some people might have problems rolling the cabbage leafs, but hey, try it first and then will talk.