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Moussaka with Bechamel Sauce »

Harry Mihailidis-Chicago Beer Ranger
Moussaka with Bechamel Sauce

I chose Moussaka, A very rich, special casserole  with a béchamel sauce for this pairing because it’s a Greek comfort food, that can be served for a special occasion or pot luck dinner. The Moussaka and Heavenly Feijoa Tripel are a beautiful balance that bring out each other’s qualities and don’t overpower one another.  Its versatility and depth of flavor is the perfect pairing. I personally taste the tartness upfront that the Hibiscus adds to this beer and the Nelson Sauvin hops and Feijoa fruit that roll on your tongue that finishes this delicious Tripel.  The rich béchamel layer is a perfect complement to the tart fruit flavors that open up when the Tripel is poured. Each element to the Moussaka and Heavenly Feijoa Tripel has its own characters and flavor profile that complements each other so well, it becomes seamless!

The great thing about Moussaka is that you can make many variations on the recipe and seasoning to your liking. Here is a basic recipe to get you started! I chose a meatless (vegetarian) version. As they say in Greece "kali orexi" which means "good appetite," or, as the French say, Bon Appétit! A wish for all diners to enjoy your meal!

Ingredients:


• 3 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices

• 1 1/2 cups olive oil, plus more as needed

• 3 large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices

• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1 medium onion, finely chopped

• 3 tablespoon minced garlic

• ½ fresh oregano

• 1/4 cup Heavenly Feijoa Tripel

• 16 oz. can Tomato puree

• 1/2 cup water

• 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

• 1/2 cup salt, plus more for seasoning

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 2 1/2 cups milk

• 1 egg, lightly beaten

• 1 egg yolk

• 1 1/3 cup grated Kefalotiri cheese, or Parmesan or Romano

Directions:


Place the eggplant slices in a large bowl and cover with water. Add 1/2 cup of salt and agitate gently to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.



While the eggplant is soaking, heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet and, working in batches, add the potato slices and cook until lightly golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper-lined plate to drain and repeat with any remaining potato slices. Season lightly with salt.



Place 1 cup of the flour in a bowl and dredge the eggplant slices in the flour. Shake to remove any excess flour. Add 1/4 cup of the remaining oil to the skillet and, working in batches, fry the eggplant slices until golden on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add more oil to the skillet as needed in 1/4 cup increments. Repeat until all eggplant has been cooked. Transfer to a paper-lined plate to drain.



Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet and, when melted, add the onions. Cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and oregano and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add the beer and cook until evaporated. Add the tomato puree and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the water and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid is evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a medium saucepan melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and, when hot, whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth and thick. Season with salt, to taste, and whisk in the egg and egg yolk. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese and set aside, covered, while you assemble the casserole.



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and place the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Top with half of the eggplant slices and half of the tomato sauce. Spoon 3/4 cup of the béchamel sauce evenly over the meat sauce and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese. Top with the remaining eggplant slices, pressing down on the layers gently with your hands to compress. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and then spread the remaining béchamel sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on the top and heated throughout, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand for at least 40 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.



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Beer Braised Crispy Pulled-Pork Flatbread »

Dave Macon, "Gour-Macon" California Beer Ranger Wrangler
Beer Braised Crispy Pulled-Pork Flatbread



             Cumin/Harissa Yogurt Sauce 

             Heavenly Feijoa Tripel “Gastrique”

             Cucumber Papaya Mint Salad

For the Pork:

The amount varies as it is up to you how much you want to make but here it is. It’s a basic braising recipe for pork or beef short ribs.

• Take pork shoulder and cut into 3-4” chunks, season well with salt and pepper

• Set a dutch oven over high heat with olive oil

• Carmelize pork pieces, about 3-4 minutes a side, you want a good bark. You may have to work in two batches to ensure they don’t touch each other

• Remove pork, reduce heat, add ½ onion, 4 garlic cloves, two carrots, 1 celery stalk, chopped. You may need a bit more oil depending on how lean your pork is. Sauté until somewhat soft. Deglaze the pan with about a cup or two of chicken stock. Scrape up all of those yummy brown bits. Add 3 cans or bottles of beer. I used Shift. You could use the Heavenly Tripel but I didn’t want to use it all in the braising liquid.

• Bring to a boil, add pork back in, bring to a boil, cover and set in a 325 degree oven. Check every hour until pork is literally falling apart.

• Remove pork and shred. Put into a baking dish, add some braising liquid to keep moist (or you’ll dry it out) and set under a broiler until the top layer is quite crispy. Be careful not to burn! Set aside

For the Yogurt Sauce:

  • ½ cup of plain greek yogurt, ¼ cup of mayo. 
  • Toast 1/4 teaspoon of cumin over medium heat
  • Add Cumin, ¼ teaspoon of Harissa (more if you like to live on the spicy side), ½ teaspoon of Tumeric, Salt and Pepper to taste. 
  • It’s good to make this ahead of time, even a day before to let the spices settle into the sauce.

For the “Gastrique”

Gastrique is really a sauce that’s been “soured” by the addition of vinegar. This version uses the beer itself. Take a cup of beer and reduce down to syrupy consistency. This experiment produced a fairly tart, intense substance. I then re-hydrated with a bit of water and added a tablespoon of honey. Cooked it down a bit more and seasoned with sea salt. It should balance between sweet, tart and finish cleanly but not salty.

For the Salad:

Whisk Sherry vinegar (careful it’s strong!), lime juice together with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil to form a light dressing. Toss thinly sliced cucumber (the English version preferred), fresh mint, thin spears of papaya in dressing.

Assembly:

• The bread was store bought “Naan” bread that I cut into a rectangle shape.

• Spread some yogurt sauce on the bread and sprinkle with red chili flakes to taste

• Put a generous portion of crispy pork on the bread.

• Drizzle some “gastrique” on the pork and put a little on the plate

• Top with a bit of the salad

• EAT.

 

 

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