This chili is styled after the classic Greek dish, Moussaka, a layered casserole of ground beef or lamb, eggplant and a spicy tomato sauce. Greek ‘red’ sauce always contains cinnamon – it adds a distinctive note that is unmistakable. Classic moussaka is topped with a béchamel or white sauce – we’ve opted for a separate Greek-style cheese sauce here that you can top your chili with or serve on the side as a dip with chips. A nice Greek salad and a bottle of chilled Roditys and you’ll be saying – OPAA!!
Level of Difficulty: The chili is super easy – the cheese sauce requires a little attention and whisking.
Lineup: Chili: 2.5 lbs. ground round or ground sirloin 1 large or 2 small onions, diced ¼ cup olive oil 1 large eggplant, peeled and diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon chili powder 2 teaspoons oregano 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 cups beef stock 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes 1 (14.5 oz.) can tomato sauce
Cheese Sauce: ¼ cup butter ¼ cup flour ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon white pepper 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1 cup milk 1 cup half & half (light cream) 1 (10 oz.) box of frozen spinach – thawed ¼ cup Parmesan, grated ½ cup feta, crumbled
Playbook: Make the chili: Brown the ground round with the onions in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef stock, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and mix well. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
When ready to serve, ladle chili into bowls and top with a dollop of cheese sauce.
Make the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the milk and half & half. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to very low.
Drain the spinach and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Add spinach to sauce, stirring well. Stir in the parmesan and feta and continue cooking until the cheeses are melted.
Special Teams: Greek Salad Crusty Bread Roditys – well chilled.