Here’s another dish from the Middle Eastern Birthday Feast. I’m not a big fan of the more traditional Greek Moussaka with the cream sauce and I have a hard time making something that I don’t really like. Luckily I had recently had a Turkish Style Moussaka that I fell in love with. I couldn’t seem to find a recipe for it that I liked anywhere, so again, I put together some of the common flavors and came up with this. Typically this dish would be made with eggplant, chickpeas and tomatoes but I like to cram as much vegetable matter as possible into my food!
I had originally thought I would grill/char the vegetables for the Moussaka but found that, in my teeny tiny kitchen, it was taking way to long. So I roasted them. It all turned out beautifully and everyone loved the dish.
This recipe has two major steps and can be made over a period of days if you’re making it for a large group. The first step being the vegetable step, cleaning, chopping and roasting and the second step being the sauce. For the vegetable preparation, you’ll want to be sure that all of your vegetables are as uniformly sized as possible so they cook evenly, somewhere around 3/4″ X 3/4″. This may seem a bit large, but all of the vegetables will shrink with cooking and you want to have large enough pieces to highlight the texture of the dish. For the sauce, although it doesn’t have to cook for too long, you want to keep in mind that you’re using dry spices and you want to get all of the flavor you can from them. Once you’ve done these two steps, you just mix everything together and eat! As for consistency, you’re looking for a pretty thick stew where everything is well coated and not drippy.
This recipe makes A LOT, but you can easily cut it in half or double if you like. It could feed 6 for a main meal with some cous cous or crusty bread or a dozen as a side dish.
- 4 large Eggplant
- 6 small/medium zucchini
- 3 large peppers
- 3 tablespoons olive Oil
- 2 Medium Onions, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 2 teaspoon of cumin
- 2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon of allspice
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, 14 oz.
- 3 cups chickpeas
- Vegetable stock as needed for consistency
- 1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
Peel eggplant and slice in 3/4″ inch thick slices. Place in paper towel lined colander and salt generously. Let sit for at least an hour.* Cut zucchini and peppers in to 3/4″ X 3/4″ pieces and put in a large roasting pan that will allow vegetables to fit in a single layer. Once eggplant has sat for at least an hour, cut into 3/4″ X 3/4″ pieces and add to the zucchini and peppers. Drizzle all of this with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in 375 degree oven until most of the liquid has cooked out, about an hour. Set aside to cool.
In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Sweat onions until they become translucent. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and spices, stir very well and let cook for two more minutes. Add diced tomatoes, chickpeas and vegetable stock (if necessary) to get a medium consistency. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add parsley. Let cool.
Once vegetables and sauce have cooled sufficiently, combine them by folding together. This can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. I served mine at room temperature and it was perfect.
*I let my cleaned eggplant sit with the salt for at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Most recipes call for 30 minutes, which is fine, but I prefer longer. It really gets a lot of the extra moisture out.