Monday, January 13, 2014

Bosnian Musaka

This dish is a variation of the Greek Moussaka, but this is how we make it in Bosnia and we call it Musaka.  It is one of my favorite dishes and growing up, my mom always made it with just potatoes and ground beef.  In this recipe I added some eggplant to change it up a bit and add some different flavor to it.  We serve it with some sour cream on top and it goes well with green lettuce salad tossed with olive oil, vinegar and some salt.  Here is the recipe for Musaka that my mom gave me and that I now have memorized whenever I make this delicious dish:

This recipe is for a low-fat version of this dish.  You can make it a bit more rich by substituting sour cream for the plain yogurt.

- 4 eggs
- 1 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream (I use low fat sour cream)
- 2 cups of milk (I use low fat milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
- pepper to taste
Vegeta to taste
- 10-12 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin circles about 1/8-1/4 inch thick
- eggplants (optional) - use 1 big eggplant or about 5-6 small Indian eggplants sliced the same size as the potatoes
- Olive or other oil such as sunflower or canola
- 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped

- Measure 3 tablespoons of oil into the baking dish.  Tilt the dish up and down and from side to side to even spread oil.
- Saute the chopped onion in the skillet until translucent
- Add ground beef and saute, breaking up beef as it cooks.  Keep cooking until meat browns.
- While meet is cooking, in a bowl, beat eggs and mix with yogurt/sour cream and leave for the end
- Preheat the oven to 450 F (~ 232 C)
- Peel and slice potatoes so they are thin, as uniformly as you can, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick
- If you choose to use eggplant, slice them the same size as the potatoes, put some salt over them and leave for about 10 minutes, then wipe the salt and bitter juices that came out with a paper towel - this takes away the bitterness of the eggplant
- Place sliced potatoes in a large bowl, add a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, a few pinches of Vegeta (optional) and mix so that all of the potato slices are covered in oil, salt and Vegeta.
- In the baking dish, put a layer of sliced potatoes so that the surface is fairly even.  Overlap slices to cover up empty space in between slices.
- Spread the meat and onion mixture evenly over the potato layer.
- Now layer the eggplant slices on top of the meat layer if using them
- Make another layer of potatoes to completely cover the meat (and eggplant), keeping the top surface as flat as possible.
- Pour the egg/yogurt/milk mixture evenly over the top of Musaka.  (If you did the layering right, it should not come all the way up to the top of the pan.)
- Cover the Musaka tightly with aluminum foil.  It helps if you spray the underside of the foil with Pam so the potatoes don't stick to it
- Put Musaka in the oven and cook, covered with the foil, for an hour.
- After an hour, take the Musaka out and remove the foil.  Put back into the oven for about 20-30 minutes more until the top is golden.  If the fork does not go in easily, continue to bake until the potatoes are done
- When the Musaka is done, let it cool for about five minutes in the pan and serve cut up in squares
- Traditionally it is served with green salad and you can put a spoonful of sour cream on top of each Musaka square like seen in the photo above.
- Enjoy! :)

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