Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Chicken Lasagna

Yes, I made a chicken lasagna and here's warning - if you don't do "scratch" cooking then this one is not for you. :)

I've been working on clearing out some of the recesses of our freezers (yes, plural), because soon we'll be gifted with some organic, grass-fed beef from my parents. Yay! In the upstairs freezer, I found a well wrapped package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Late summer I bought a big package of chicken thighs and "processed" them myself. I'm not sure I saved too much money but I felt like I did.

So, what to do with these chicken thighs? I decided to make Italian sausage with them and then to put the sausage into a lasagna. Here's how I did it. I ground them with my Kitchen Aid grinder attachment (works great!). You could probably also pulse them in a food processor. I would not recommend a blender.

To the ground chicken (roughly 1 1/3 pounds), I added:

1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp crushed red pepper (I made my own this year!) - you can use more if you like it spicier.
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp of brown sugar (I like the bit of sweetness it added along with the browner color it gave the browned chicken)

Then, I browned the chicken sausage up real well. Added some basil garlic tomato sauce (canned from this year's garden) - I'd say use your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce. Simmer for at least 10 minutes. This was the red sauce for the lasagna. Now, I didn't have any ricotta so I decided to make a Mornay (a bechamel sauce with cheese) sauce. Here's how I did that:

2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
roughly 2 1/2 cups milk
2 slices provolone cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, stir in the garlic and onion powders. Add the flour and cook for couple of minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, adjust how much milk you use according to how thick or thin you want your sauce. Stir in the cheeses - season with salt and pepper to your tastes.

Now, assemble your lasagna! I really like those no bake Barilla lasagna sheets. I used six of them (about half a package). In an 9x9 pan, put a dollop of red sauce on the bottom, then two lasagna sheets, then a third of the red sauce, 1 third of the Mornay sauce, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Repeat. Save just enough red sauce and white sauce to keep the top of the last sheets, well covered. The pile on the mozzarella and add a little grated Romano too.

Bake in a 375 degree oven, covered tightly with aluminum foil for 45 minutes. Uncover, and let cook another 10 minutes to give the top a little color. Allow to cool down for about 10 minutes, cut and serve! This is a great sized lasagna for our family and the kids all loved it!

This one is truly from scratch. My husband says I spoil him and I guess I probably do! Please give making your own bulk sausage a try - it is so easy, you probably have many of the spices already on hand and you'll avoid the addition of many additives (i.e. msg). Google what ever sausage you want to make along with the terms "spice" and "recipes" and you'll be well on you way.

1 comment:

Dinetonite said...

This looks really flavorful. I bet my kid would totally eat this!!