I wanted to include some really good snack recipes with my submissions, and one of my favorites out of the bunch is this Greek Eggplant Dip, a take on moussaka (a lamb-eggplant casserole of sorts with a bechamel sauce) and tzatziki (a fresh yogurt-cucumber dressing). I wasn't going to use lamb, so I switched that out with turkey because I like it and it has a milder flavor than beef. My first take was roasting the eggplant separately, then tossing it with the finished turkey-tomato mixture. The result was tasty, but some tasters didn't quite like how the flavors stood out more (some allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg) and we all felt the texture of the eggplant didn't blend well. Moussaka is cooked for at least 45 minutes, and that's plenty of time for the eggplant to achieve sort of a creamy, melty texture. Here, the eggplant wasn't roasted long enough for it to fall apart. My next try was to add the eggplant to the simmering turkey mixture. This proved to be the winning method, as the flavors melded much better and the end result was completely delicious.
To make the "cheese" part, I decided to strain yogurt so it wouldn't be very runny, then mix it with peeled, seeded, and grated cucumber (which has quite a bit of liquid, hence the strained yogurt). I then added fresh garlic along with oregano and salt, then set that aside while I prepared the filling. You can serve this with whatever you'd like, though pita chips are definitely preferable.
The great part about this recipe is that although it's a bit time consuming, you can make it the day before you need it, even two days, and the flavor will only get better with time.
Thinking back on this, I have some eggplant I need to use up and I'm now hungry.
(recipe after jump)
Mom on the Run is having a wonderful giveaway over at her blog for Le Creuset Pinch Bowls, a set of brightly colored bowls that hold just a little of an ingredient. I can't think of how many times when prepping ingredients I'm looking around for a bowl that's small enough for the amount needed, it gets aggravating sometimes! Check it out.
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Greek Eggplant Dip
recipe by Christina Provo
Moussaka, the classic Greek eggplant-lamb dish, has been turned into a savory dip for snacking. The lamb has been replaced by ground turkey, and instead of the cheese topping there are layers of tzatziki, a fresh cucumber-yogurt sauce.
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Yogurt layer ~
2 1/2 cups yogurt, strained for 2 hours or overnight
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Turkey layer ~
1/2 pound ground turkey
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, pulverized with liquid briefly in food processor
Pita chips, soft pita wedges, baguette slices, crackers, or chips
- For yogurt: Grate the cucumber (if the yogurt has not been strained for at least 2 hours, press the liquid out of the grated cucumber with paper towels) and mix with yogurt, oregano, garlic, and salt in a bowl. Place in fridge.
- For eggplant and turkey: Meanwhile, on medium heat brown turkey in a large skillet until almost completely browned. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to turkey along with the onion and garlic; saute for 1 minute. Mix in the oregano, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, and salt. Once mixed, stir in the eggplant with remaining tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat. cook for 5-7 minutes, until eggplant begins to cook down. Pour in the tomatoes, stir, and cook for 15 minutes, covered. remove lid and cook for 5 minutes so any liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
- In a 9-inch glass pie dish, spoon half of the eggplant-turkey mixture onto bottom and spread to edge of dish. Dot half of the yogurt layer on top of the turkey and carefully spread to edges. Repeat with remaining eggplant-turkey mixture, and finally the yogurt, carefully spreading to the edges. (Dotting the mixture around the entire surface helps make spreading easier.) Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
Serve with pita chips, soft pita wedges, baguette slices, crackers, or chips.