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Old 05-11-2006, 07:58 PM   #1
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Par boiling potatoes? for Moussaka

I'm making a dish asking for par boiled potatoes.

Do i need to peel and slice 1/4"thick (that's what it says in the recipe) for it to cook easier?

then par boil it?

If i'm correct, par boil means boiling for a short period of time, but how short?

Should i boil the water first before putting the sliced potatoes in? Or Place it in the water then let it boil?

Should i put salt to the water to season it?

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Old 05-11-2006, 08:05 PM   #2
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What dish is it that you are making? If you post the recipe that will help us answer your question.

You do not want to boil the water before you put the potatoes in or they will get mushy. I would add salt though to flavor the potatoes.
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:01 AM   #3
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I'll be making Moussaka

1/4 cup olive oil, plus
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped ripe olives, preferably kalamata
2 lbs ground beef or ground lamb
15 ounces seasoned tomato sauce
2 large onions
2 garlic cloves
2 lbs eggplants
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
Bechamel Sauce
1/4 cup butter
2 cups hot milk
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated kefalograviera cheese (use Parmesan if unavailable)
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. In large, heavy saucepan, heat 1/4 cup oil; saute finely ground meat, onion (very finely chopped) and crushed garlic until lightly browned; add crushed oregano, crushed basil, cinnamon, salt, ripe olives and tomato sauce; Cover and simmer slowly about 30 minutes; uncover and simmer slowly another 30 minutes.
  2. While sauce simmers, prepare Bechamel Sauce (recipe below) and eggplant; cut ends from eggplant (1 large or 2 small) and cut in 1/2-inch-thick slices (if using large, flask-type eggplant, peel the skin off in strips with a vegetable peeler - creating a striped look - with some of the peel left on and some off. If using Japanese-style (the longish, purply-white ones), don't bother to peel at all); Place on a cookie sheet and brush with remaining olive oil; Place under broiler and broil until light brown; Remove from oven, salt lightly, turn eggplant and repeat process; Then position rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees.
  3. There are three ways you can prepare the potatoes for this delicious casserole: 1) shallow-fry potato rounds in olive oil until golden-brown or, 2) for fewer calories, arrange the potato slices in your baking pan, brush lightly with olive oil, bake for 15 minutes, continue with assembly, or 3) if you want to cut calories further, parboil them for 8 minutes; drain well on paper towels.
  4. To assemble: In 13x9x2-inch baking dish, arrange layer of potatoes, overlapping slightly, season lightly (there will be only one layer of potatoes, so use them all up); next, do a layer of eggplant; sprinkle some Parmesan, cheddar and bread crumbs over eggplant; layer meat sauce, freshly grated cheeses, crumbs and Bechamel Sauce until all is used; bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until flecked golden-brown on top.
  5. To make Bechamel Sauce: In saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat; whisk in flour and cook slowly until smooth and lightly cooked (2-3 minutes); add salt and remove from heat; add milk, whisking rapidly and return to heat; cook until thick and bubbly, whisking constantly; allow to cool 5 minutes, whisking once in a while to prevent a skin from forming; incorporate slightly beaten eggs and grated cheese with wire whisk to make fluffy sauce.
  6. Freezer Notes: Once the baked moussaka has completely cooked, cut serving-size pieces, double-wrap in foil and freeze. Defrost in the usual manner and reheat in microwave (or oven) for a delicious, quick meal, when there's little time to cook and dinner is ready and waiting in the freezer!
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Old 05-12-2006, 08:16 AM   #4
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You would want to par boil them before cutting them up. The re3cipe states you do that for 8 minutes. If you sliced them first then 8 minutes would be too long.
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Old 05-12-2006, 07:44 PM   #5
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ahh, thanks for noting that out. :D silly me.

Do u place the potatoes in cold water, then start timing, until 8 min. then remove the potatoes?

sorry for asking too many questions
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Old 05-12-2006, 07:47 PM   #6
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LOL don't worry about asking questions. That is what we are here for

You would place them in cold (or room temp) water and turn the heat on. Start timing once the water starts to boil.
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Old 05-13-2006, 01:22 AM   #7
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ok, got it! thanks! :)
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Old 05-13-2006, 08:47 AM   #8
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Let us know how it turns out
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Old 05-13-2006, 11:03 AM   #9
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I have to sort of question this.... if you don't cut the potatoes first, will they actually get done evenly? I know that here in Denver (boiling temp is only 206 degrees), 8 minutes on a quartered potato is still raw except maybe for the very ourside 1/8" or so. Cut into 1/4" slices they would likely cook more evenly...
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Old 05-13-2006, 11:16 AM   #10
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I agree entirely with GB. RP, I would always peel and cut the potatoes first before par boiling them. In Fawns recipe it calls for 1/4" potatoes which are considered small diced. Thats a lot different from quartered potatoes which would take longer to par boil.
Fawn, could I ask where you found the Moussaka recipe? Having lived in Greece I can't remember seeing one quite like that.
Thanks,
Mark
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