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Moussaka

1 lb beef or lamb
3 eggplants
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bayleaf
2 teaspoons zataar (Middle Eastern spice), optional
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds, ( optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks
3 eggs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
3 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup beef broth or water
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Slice eggplants lengthwise in 1/2" slices. Place in a colander with
salt. Place a weight on top. Let stand 1 hour to remove bitterness.
Grind meat. Cook onions and coriander seeds and garlic in oil
until onions are transparent. Stir in ground meat and cook until
all red disappears. Season with the spices and salt and pepper.
Stir in tomato sauce and beef broth. Simmer half covered 1 hour,
adding more broth or water if it becomes dry. Wash eggplant to
remove the salt and dry very well on paper towels. Fry in peanut
oil just until brown. Transfer to paper towels to remove fat.
Spread breadcrumbs in the bottom of a Pyrex dish or a deep baking
dish. Place a layer of eggplant, may overlap but must cover all
the bottom. Spread a layer of meat. And keep alternating meat and
eggplant. Set aside Make the bechamel: Melt butter, stir in flour
and cook 2 minutes. Add milk stirring vigorously not to form lumps
season with salt and white pepper..Cook until thick Stir in cheese
and let cool 10 minutes. Stir in eggs. Spread a thick layer on
top of moussaka. Sprinkle with some more cheese. Bake at 350 F
until top is golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Cut
into squares and serve.

NOTES : The choice of spices goes according to one's taste but the
cinnamon cannot be omitted.

Zahtar, is a mixture of wild thyme, roasted sesame seeds, the ground
sour red cherries of the sumac tree, and salt.

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