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2 medium Eggplants around 1 kilogram
2 cups Vegetable oil
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
To prepare Béchamel layer:
50 grams Butter
½ cup Flour
3 cups Milk
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon White pepper
To prepare meat and chickpeas layer:
¼ cup Vegetable oil
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
400 grams Ground beef
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black pepper
800 grams Canned chopped tomatoes
2 Bay leaves
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
½ cup Water
2 tbsp Flour
1 can California Garden chickpeas
To prepare the Béchamel sauce, melt butter in a pot then add flour. Mix until combined and cook for a few minutes on medium heat, then gradually add milk and whisk well until thickened. Do not stop whisking to avoid lumps. Season with salt and white pepper.
To prepare the meat sauce, heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and minced meat and season with salt and black pepper. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Add chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, tomato paste and stir. Sprinkle with flour and cook for 2 minutes, then add water and cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Add California Garden chickpeas and cook for 2 minutes then turn off the heat.
Thinly slice the eggplants then place in a colander and generously sprinkle with salt. After 30 minutes of soaking, tap dry slices with kitchen towels to get rid of moisture.
Heat vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add eggplant slices and deep fry until golden. Remove from oil then place on kitchen towels in a dish to absorb excess oil.
In a baking dish, align eggplant slices followed by a layer of cooked meat. Repeat until the quantities are finished. Pour the béchamel sauce on top and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes, until deep golden brown and bubbling.