This is a rather involved recipe, but my wife loves it and I get to prepare it quite often. I originally discovered it at the southern food section of About.com. It’s a two part recipe. The first part is easy, layer a casserole dish with eggplant slices and fill it up with some ground beef mixture. See this article for some instructions how to prepare eggplants
It gets tricky for the uninitiated with part two. The first couple of times it felt more like I am doing a chemistry experiment, fearing to get the timing wrong. The first critical moment to me is already the mixing of the molten butter and the flour. It’s supposed to turn into a paste, but it usually is just a bunch of yellow clumps sizzling in the pan. And then I have to add milk. I hate hot milk. I hate the smell of milk boiling over. Who doesn’t? But that usually goes well, since you can just move the pan off the heat before it gets gross. Slowly adding the cheese is an easy step, but adding the egg to the mix is not. The eggs would quickly congeal if we just poured them into the sauce. Thus, we warm them up a little at first by adding some warm sauce into the beaten eggs. Once warm, we can pour them safely back into the mixture.
And honestly, I actually haven’t messed up the cheese sauce so far. Most of it is just stressing out, since you have to stay focused and keep moving once you get started. And the result is just wonderful. A smooth, cheesy sauce on top of your meat. Made me think of the time when I helped my dad leveling the concrete for the driveway.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 pound ground beef
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 5 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs or egg substitute
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Slice the eggplant in 1/2″ slices, prepared as mentioned above
- Butter a casserole dish and layer half the eggplant slices in the casserole dish
- Brown the ground beef in a pan
- Add tomatoes and tomato sauce
- Add minced garlic to the meat as well as salt, pepper, oregano and a dash of cinnamon
- Pour the mixture into your casserole dish on top of the eggplant
- Layer the remaining eggplants on top.
- Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl or use egg substitute
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour
- On low heat add milk slowly until it comes to a rolling boil
- Slowly spoon cheese into the mixture while stirring continuously
- Add a spoonful or two of the cheesy sauce to the beaten egg and whisk it in
- Now pour all of the egg mixture into the cheese sauce and stir until smooth.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the top layer of eggplant and smooth it with a spoon.
- Bake at 400F for 30 minutes