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Catholic Recipe: Moussaka

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups natural barley
  • salt
  • 3/4 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • bread crumbs
  • 4 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • pinch of salt
  • Details

  • Serves: 6 -8
  • Yield: 9 x 12 baking dish
  • Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: Greece

What did Byzantine food taste like? We have a number of earlier Greek cookbooks, such as Gastronomia by Archstratus (5th century BC), and we know what Greek cooking is like now. To tie them together we have the work of such scholars As Nicholas Tselementes, who traced back to earlier times such dishes as Keftedes (meatballs made with grain), Dolmades (grain and/or meat stuffed into vegetables or plant leaves and cooked), Moussake (a layered dish of meat, cheese and pasta or grain), Yuvarelakia (meat and/or grain dumplings cooked in broth), and Kakavia, the Greek version of Bouillabaise. He also traced back to the ancient Greeks the making of white sauce - using flour and fat to thicken a broth or milk mixture. Although some of these dishes are now known to the world by Turkish or European names (even the Greeks call white sauce "bechamel"), their origins are Greek. We know they ate three meals a day - breakfast, midday and supper. They had many fast days. While the lower classes made due with what they could get, the upper classes were served three courses at their midday and supper meals consisting of hors d'ouvres, a main course of fish or meat and a sweet course. They ate all kinds of courses of fish or meat and a sweet course. They ate all kinds of meats including pork, and numerous types of fowl. They ate large amounts of fresh fish and seafood. There were many types of soups and stews and salads were popular. They liked a variety of cheeses and fruits were eaten both fresh and cooked. Fruits included apples, melons, dates, figs, grapes and pomegranates. Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios were used in many dishes as well as being eaten by themselves.

DIRECTIONS

Cook the barley in salted water until done. Drain & set aside.

Brown the ground beef and onions together. Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and let stand 10 minutes. Squeeze out the excess moisture. Add the zucchini to the beef and onions and saute a few moments longer.

Mix half of the Feta cheese and the beef mixture with the barley.

Oil a 9 x 12 x 3 baking pan with olive oil and spread the barley mixture over it.

Make the white sauce by heating the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Stir in the flour and add the 1 cup of warm milk, stirring steadily to make a smooth sauce. Add the pinch of salt. Add the rest of the Feta to the sauce and stir. Pour the sauce over the barley, top with bread crumbs and bake at 350° F for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and let stand 10 mintues before cutting.

Recipe Source: Byzantine Recipes
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