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Author Notes: It is snowing in Utah today (March 30) and something warm and spicy is needed. I've been reading Saveur for years and am often inspired by their articles to try new foods--especially foods with such history. After reading and hearing references about a dish like moussaka for so long, I finally summoned the courage to try it and to make it a bit healthier. I started with a recipe published in Saveur on Oct 2012 and it evolved quickly. Hope you like it! This dish consists of 4 parts, and each part can be made ahead and rewarmed at assembly. —aseraina
Cauliflower Parsnip Puree
- 1 medium head cauliflower chopped coarsely
- 1 cup small parsnips chopped unpeeled
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 ounces mozzarella
- salt to taste
- Roast chopped cauliflower and parsnips in oven at 400 degrees until they are tender and slightly browned. Remove and let cool.
- Puree cauliflower, parsnips, mozzarella, milk and salt until smooth and creamy in blender. Add additional milk a little at a time, if needed, to create a creamy texture that is not runny or lumpy. Set this aside and cover--reheat when you are ready to assemble the dish.
- 1 cup panko
- 2 tbsp butter
- zest of one lemon (with microplane)
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts roasted
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion
- 2 pounds ground beef or bison
- 6 cloves minced garlic
- 4 teaspoons ground vietnamese cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vegetable bullion
- 26 ounces crushed fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 medium eggplant cubed 1 inch pieces
- Melt butter in a skillet. Sprinkle panko over the butter and toast it until golden brown. Remove from heat and after it cools, toss with lemon zest, pine nuts, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1 tbsp parsley. Set aside.
- Toss cubed eggplant with 2 tbsp olive oil and roast in 400 degree oven until golden brown and tender.
- In another pan sauté onions in 1 tbsp olive oil until translucent. Add ground beef, cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, cloves, and garlic. Cook until beef is cooked through and browned.
- Add soy sauce, wine, beef broth, vegetable bullion, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and simmer. Add remaining parsley just before serving.
- To assemble: Scoop apx 1 cup beef mixture into a bowl. Sprinkle with roasted eggplant. Top with a large scoop of warmed cauliflower parsnip puree. Sprinkle with panko mixture.