moussaka for a crowd

3 medium eggplants, sliced in thin rounds
Vegetable oil as needed
2 medium onions, chopped
3-1/2 pounds ground beef
16 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
2-1/2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons margarine
2 cups milk
2 large eggs, beaten until frothy
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place eggplant rounds on lightly greased cookie sheets and paint with vegetable oil. Bake for about 5 minutes in a 400 oven or until slightly soft. Set aside on paper towels. Heat about half-inch of vegetable oil in a skillet and brown the onions. Put meat in a large mixing bowl. Add tomato sauce, wine, parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Make a white sauce by melting the margarine and blending the flour in, stirring with a wire whisk. Meanwhile, bring the milk to a boil and gradually add it to the margarine and flour mixture stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove from heat. Cool slightly and stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg and cottage cheese. Arrange alternate layers of meat and eggplant in a 12 x 7 inch greased rectangular casserole, sprinkling each layer with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake one hour in a 375 oven. Take out and pour the cottage cheese mixture over the top and bake until the eggplant is done and the top is golden, about 3 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm. Note: Moussaka can be made a day ahead; the flavor of this dish improves with standing. From The Washington Post Magazine, October 22, 1983.

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