Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's Greek to Me!

Super-Tasty Lamb Casserole in Phyllo Dough

Lately I've been a bit obsessed with lamb. I can't help myself- it's so good. I have also been craving delicious Greek food. In my current city of residence, however, I have yet to find anything even resembling the most mediocre of Greek food. With that in mind, I wanted to put together a recipe that combined some of my favorite Greek flavors. This dish is basically a twist on a traditional Greek moussaka. But rather than topping it the lamb and eggplant with
b├ęchamel sauce, I decided to give a nod to one of my other favorite Greek noshes, spanakopita, by topping it with a sauteed spinach and feta mixture covered with a golden-baked phyllo dough. This is a great one-dish meal- full of veggies and general deliciousness.

Ingredients

- 1 lb. ground lamb
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1/4" disks
- 2 lbs. baby spinach, rinsed
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 handful chopped curly parsley
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1/4 c. dry red wine
- 8 oz. crumbled feta
- 1 tsp. dried mint
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. died oregano
- thawed frozen phyllo dough
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. melted butter
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange eggplant slices on sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Roast eggplant slices in oven for 10-15 minutes until eggplant begins to soften and turn slightly brown. Remove from oven, but leave heat on to bake casserole.

As eggplant roasts, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet oven medium heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add ground lamb and cook over medium heat, breaking up meat with wooden spoon. When lamb is cooked through, about 5 minutes, add red wine, tomatoes in their juices, dried herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes for juices to thicken.

While the lamb mixture simmers, heat 2 Tbsp. in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add half the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally until spinach begins to wilt. Add the remaining spinach and parsley and cook, stirring, until cooked through. Season spinach with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, add feta, and stir to allow cheese to melt into the spinach.

Layer casserole ingredients in a 13x9" baking dish. Put lamb mixture on bottom, top with roasted eggplant slices, top with spinach and cheese mixture (spreading evenly). Unroll defrosted phyllo dough and top casserole with 10 thin sheets of pastry. Brush top of phyllo dough with melted butter. Bake in oven for 30 minutes until phyllo dough begins to puff up and turn brown. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

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