Poor moussaka. It has a funny name and it contains eggplant, which has a reputation of bland mushiness and frumpy appearance. (Eggplant really needs to reinvent itself and start going by its French name, Aubergine. Ah, Aubergine! )
And really, moussaka also needs a shout out. It is richly comforting, flavorful, economical, and can serve as either a weeknight meal or as a company dinner. It is fun to cook, too, because you get to make a Bechamel sauce, which is like a culinary chemistry lesson, and is also satisfyingly easy. This recipe uses chicken, rather than the traditional lamb or beef. You can use the meat of one purchased rotisserie chicken for convenience, or poach breasts, or cook a whole chicken for the meat. Traditionally the eggplant slices are floured and fried, but this recipe calls for baking them.
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9 x 13" casserole dish.
Grease cookie sheet and arrange eggplant slices. Bake for 5 minutes or until slightly crisp. Keep an eye on them-- they cook quickly!
In skillet, heat olive oil and cook onion and garlic until golden. Add tomatoes, oregano, cumin and sugar.
Bring to boil, reduce heat and add chicken. Simmer 20 minutes.
While this is cooking, prepare Bechamel sauce. In saucepan, melt butter. Sir in flour, slat and pepper and cook, stirring, until golden. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, until it is thickened and smooth. In a small bowl, stir egg yolks. Add a few spoonfuls of the sauce and combine. Gradually add the yolk mixture into the sauce, stirring constantly until smooth.
Arrange half of eggplant slices in bottom of casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of crumbs and cheese. Add all of the chicken mixture, then arrange remaining eggplant on top. Spoon sauce on top, then sprinkle remaining crumbs and cheese over. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.