This has been on my list of things to try to make for a really long time. I saw it made on Take Home Chef and ever since I wanted to try it myself. I actually used the Take Home Chef recipe.

I made it for myself, J, my mom and sister. I think it turned out really good.

The only thing is I expected to meat mixture to go a bit further than it did. It didn’t make quite as much as expected.

Ingredients:
Meat Sauce:
2 T olive oil
2 onions (finely chopped)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 bay leaf
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork (I actually did 1/2 beef and 1 lb pork, since I the beef was frozen in 1/2 lb increments, and the pork was in 1 lb – it made it easier.)
1 c red wine
28 ou of peeled, whole tomatos (to easily peel tomatos, core, then place in boiling water for 15-20 seconds, peel will come right off)

Bechamel Sauce:
1 stick butter
1 c flour
1 quart full fat / whole milk
1/4 while nutmeg, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Eggplant:
3 eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch slices (I would start with 2, because I cut 3 and threw a lot of it away)
1/4 c salt
olive oil

Directions:
Meat Sauce:
Place a large heavy based saucepan over medium high heat. In a little olive oil saute the onions for 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the onions and garlic are soft and without color.

Add the ground meat, and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add the red wine and deglaze pan, then the tomatos and bring to a gentle simmer for 3 hours. (I completely missed the 3 hour deal in my first look at these directions, so I ended up turning it up a bit and going for 1 1/2. I think the main purpose is to just soak up all the liquid, so it worked out fine.)
Remove the bay leaf and thyme stems.

Bechamel Sauce:
Place a medium sized saucepan over a low to medium heat. Add the butter and flour and stir with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk and stir constantly until there are no lumps. This will take about 10 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Eggplant Layers:
Preheat the oven to 350.

Sprinkle the salt over the eggplant slices and allow them to sit for 15 minutes.

Wash the salt off of the eggplant under running water and fry slices of eggplant in a large pan or wok in a little oil – simply color each side, do not cook through. Pat it dry on paper towels.
To assemble:
(Reading this now I realize I assembled mine incorrectly. I started with eggplant, then meat then sauce. Oh well – it was still good! :p )

Place 2 ladles of the meat sauce on teh bottom of a large oven proof dish (about 9×13) and then place a layer of eggplant. Ladle half the meat sauce over the eggplant then half the bechamel sauce. Repeat this process finishing with a layer of bechamel sauce.

Note: the way this reads it seems like it wants 4 layers of the meat sauce, but I don’t know how you’d stretch it that far when I did 2 layers and it was just enough. I did eggplant, meat, sauce, eggplant, meat, sauce.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foi and return to oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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