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Croatian Moussaka

Stephanie Hynes from Canada

Serves
4
Preparation
30 mins
Cooks in
40 - 60 mins
Country of origin
Croatia

Lara opens the gate and gives me a smile. “Stephanie, come in!” she exclaims. I am in Treviso, my mother’s birthplace (in northern Italy). I visited with my mother last year & fell in love with the city, so I’ve returned on a solo visit. “Are you hungry?” she asks. “No.” I answer. She replies with a smile, but I know that European look, she’s going to make me something anyways & claim she made too much ‘by accident’. Lara shows me to my room, it is bright and filled with books. I knew in those 1st minutes of meeting Lara that she would become a woman I would admire for a lifetime. I spent the next week with Lara, talking about everything from politics to food, while exploring and sipping on espresso. One day, Lara insisted on making dinner. “I’ll make Moussaka for us, it’s Croatian, made with potato, cheese & onions!” It sounded delicious & that evening Lara and I sat down for dinner. At first bite I was instantly transported into taste bud heaven. “This is amazing!” I cheered. I took another 4 bites. Wait, is that meat, it looks like meat. I looked up at Lara & smiled, I thought I told her I was vegetarian, but it didn’t matter. Lara made this meal with love (and meat), and I was going to enjoy every last bite. The next day we had leftovers for lunch, more meat! I laughed with my family when I returned to Canada, “I ate meat, and it was amazing.” The morning I was flying back to Canada, I lovingly gifted Lara a floral scarf that I knew she would love, we hugged & I told her I would never forget her. “Get out of here, before I start crying!” she proclaimed. We both had tears swelling in our eyes. Thank you Lara, you are why I love to travel! *I didn’t want to ruin the moment with taking pictures of my food or asking Lara for the recipe. I just savoured every bite. I wanted to recreate what Lara made from memory of the tastes I experienced, but I added my own touch, instead of meat I used sweet potato! BUT, I AM FULLY WILLING to eat meat on this Passport & Plate!*

Ingredients

  • 4 large white potatoes
  • 4 medium yellow potatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 cup chopped spanish onion
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 large chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded parmigiano cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter

Method

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bring a large pot filled half way with water to a boil. (Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt to water).
  • Slice all potatoes 1/4 of an inch length wise and place in boiling water for 5-8 minutes to cook slightly. Drain potatoes and immediately rinse under cold water. Set aside to cool.
  • In a medium pan sautee on low heat onions and garlic in olive oil for 8-10 minutes (making sure not to burn onions or garlic). Once onions are slightly soft, remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a medium bowl gently whisk milk, parmigiana cheese, salt, pepper, eggs and 3 tablespoons of the butter all together and set aside.
  • Take a 8 x 8 inch square pan and grease pan including the sides with butter.
  • Assemble the Moussaka by layering various potato slices to half way up the pan, take half of the milk/egg mixture and pour over the potatoes. Continue to layer until potatoes are in line with pan’s top edge. Pour the remaining milk/egg mixture over the potatoes.
  • Bake in oven for 40 – 60 minutes until Moussaka is golden brown!

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