The colder it gets outside, darker earlier, the brighter the lights inside and the warmth of a cosy home is inviting and comforting when winter is setting in. A home made Lasagne with Chicken, Leek, Mushroom and Spinach is the comfort one requires on a cold winter evening.
The recipe that I am sharing isn’t the traditional style Lasagne, nevertheless, it boasts wonderful flavours. The end result is a mouth watering baked pasta dish with earthy flavours of the mushrooms, delicate vegetables such as spinach, leeks and the lightness of white chicken meat. This combination with these ingredients makes a wonderful and delicate lasagne.
1 kg chicken mince (thigh or breast)
150 g Swiss brown field mushrooms (thinly slices)
150 g button mushrooms
20 g dry Porcini mushrooms (soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes)
80 g Parmesan cheese (grated)
3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
60 g fresh baby spinach leaves
40 g unsalted butter
2 leeks (thoroughly cleaned & sliced)
300 ml cooking cream
250 ml dry white wine
375 g fresh lasagne sheets (home made or good quality store bought)
(you will not have to pre-cook these sheets – the sauce from the chicken and mushroom will whilst in the oven)
olive oil for cooking
salt & freshly ground pepper
80 g unsalted butter
80 g plain flour
1 litre of full cream milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes (Approximately)
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours (Approximately)
Serves: 8- 10 people (Approximately)
You will need a lasagne tray 40 cm x 28 cm and 8 cm deep.
- In a large pan, fry the garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat until a little golden on edges. Add the leeks and sweat until soft and translucent in colour. Turn the heat off.
- In a separate pan add a little oil and brown the chicken mince. When browned add the chicken to the leeks and place back on the stove.
- Continue to cook on medium to low heat stirring occasionally. Add white wine to the chicken and leek, cream and continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Check that you are happy with the seasoning. Remove from the heat.
- In a separate pan melt 40 g butter, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. To the pan add the Porcini mushrooms as well as the soaking liquid.
- Cook on a medium to high heat until the liquid reduces to less than half. Leaving a glossy sauce. Add the baby spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from the heat and place aside.
- For the béchamel sauce, prepare the white roux by cutting the butter into pieces and melt in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the flour as soon as the butter has melted. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture turns pale and becomes frothy.
- Pour all the milk into the roux and whisk immediately.
- Bring to the boil and continue to whisk until the liquid thickens. Gently simmer while whisking continuously for two minutes. Season with the nutmeg and salt.
- To assemble the lasagne, cover the bottom of the tray with the chicken and leek sauce, add your lasagne sheets covering the whole tray. Where you need to overlap the pasta sheets ensure to add more chicken, leek and sauce ensuring the layers have moisture in between each other. This cooks the pasta thoroughly between the layers. You may need to trim the pasta sheets in order to fit them in the tray.
- Cover each layer with the chicken and leek, add the mushrooms and spinach on top, then add a few spoons of béchamel, covering with some Parmesan cheese.
- Ensure that you have some chicken and leek, mushroom, spinach, béchamel sauce and Parmesan cheese left for the top layer. The grated cheese on top of the béchamel sauce will form a lovely golden crust.
- Cover the tray with foil and place in the oven at 190°C for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes remove the foil and place back in the oven to bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until golden on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.
- The fresh pasta sheets will not need to be pre-cooked.
- The sauce from the chicken and leek is runny and thin.
- The mushrooms and spinach, béchamel all play a part in cooking the pasta.
- By resting the lasagne before serving allows it to cool slightly, as well as firm up a little to ensure the slices are neat and not sloppy.