It is fun to take a traditional dish and put a twist on it. Buffalo chicken pizza, Tater Tot nachos, and sushi burritos are all great examples of this. This week I took my traditional recipe for Moussaka (a layered eggplant dish) and turned it into ChefElla’s Moussaka Boats. I hope you like doing fun things with your food, and I hope my Moussaka Boats will inspire you to do something fun with one of your favorite recipes.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a few medium bowls, a rubber spatula, a large sauté pan, a small sauté pan, a knife and cutting board, a baking sheet, a melon baller, the stove and the oven.
If you are not allowed to use a knife, stove or the oven by yourself, you can ask an adult for help.
ChefElla’s Moussaka Boats (about 6-8 Servings)
2 ea. Whole Eggplants (about 2 lbs.
1 lb. Ground Beef, Lamb, Pork, Turkey, or Meatless Meat Crumbles
1 Cup Onion, White or Yellow, Medium Diced (about ½ medium onion)
1 can Petit Diced Tomatoes (14 oz. can)
1 tsp Garlic, Minced (about 1 large clove)
¼ tsp Clove, Ground
1/8 tsp Cinnamon, Ground
1/8 tsp Allspice, Ground
1 tsp Salt, Kosher or Sea
½ tsp Black Pepper
½ Cup Romano Cheese
4 Tbl. Olive Oil
2 Tbl. Butter, Unsalted
2 Tbl. A.P. Flour (If you are gluten free you can use GF flour or other flour)
1 ¼ Cup Milk, Whole or Skim
½ tsp. Salt, Kosher or Sea
¼ tsp Black Pepper
½ Cup Romano Cheese
3. Preheat oven to 350F.
4. Cut your Eggplant in half, lengthwise. Using your melon baller remove the eggplant flesh leaving just enough along the sides and bottom so that the eggplant can keep its shape. Rub the inside of your eggplant boats with olive oil. Chop up the removed eggplant insides into a small dice size and set aside in your bowl.
5. To make your cheese sauce. Heat your small sauté pan on medium heat. Add the butter to the pan. When the butter is melted add the flour to the pan and mix well so the flour is incorporated into your butter. Cook the butter flour mixture called a Roux (pronounced roo) until the roux turns a nice blonde color. Add the milk to the roux and mix well so there are no lumps. When the sauce begins to bubble add the salt, pepper, and cheese. Remove from the heat and mix well. Set your cheese sauce aside for later.
6. Heat your large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add your ground meat and break it apart while it cooks. Continue to mix and break the meat into smaller pieces as it cooks. When the meat has only a little bit of pink color left, remove the meat from the pan, and set aside for later.
7. Do not wash the sauté pan. Return the pan to the heat and add 2 Tbl. of olive oil. Add the eggplant, onion, and garlic to the pan and mix well. Continue to mix the vegetables as they cook so they do not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the onions begin to look translucent, add the tomatoes with the juice to the pan and mix well. Add the salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, clove, and cooked meat to the pan and mix well. Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.
8. Add the cheese sauce to the pan and mix well. Remove the pan from the heat.
9. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the eggplant boats on the baking sheet and fill each of the eggplant boats with the moussaka filling. Top the eggplant boats with Romano cheese and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Cut your Moussaka Boats into the size you would like to serve.
ChefElla’s helpers can help by:
Measuring the ingredients
Scooping out the eggplant
Filling the eggplant with the Moussaka filling
Older helpers can help by:
Preparing the vegetables
Cooking the ingredients