Sunday, May 23, 2010
My Venture into Non-Traditional Lasagna
Today's recipe is a work in progress. Initially, I was trying to make a meat and potato version of pierogi lasagna. I've had pierogi lasagna made with only potatoes, caramelized onions, and cheese. It was tasty but a bit too carby for my taste. After tweaking this recipe several times, it's now to the point that it's more like a shepherd's pie – hence the name "Shepherd's Pie Lasagna." It has all of the key ingredients in a shepherd's pie but is layered like a lasagna.
I'm not ready to say this recipe is exactly to my liking. Don't get me wrong – it's very tasty. This is comfort food at its finest. If you like meat and potatoes, I think you'll like this dish. That said, I think it can stand some improvement. Sometimes when I'm developing a recipe, I have to step back and not make it for a while. Every so often, I like to post in-progress recipes like this one so my blog buddies can offer advice on improvements. What would you do to make this recipe better? If you make it, what did you think? What does it need? What should I tweak. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!
Do any of you watch the television show "Lost" on ABC? The series finale is tonight (Sunday) and I CANNOT WAIT to watch it. Right before it comes on, I'm turning off my cell phone, shutting off my lights, and making some popcorn. For two hours of ecstasy, I will be sitting in my easy chair without blinking or moving. That show is almost as good as Star Trek. Almost. This Shepherd's Pie Lasagna is a perfect send off for the show. Do you know why? Because the main character's name is Jack SHEPHARD. Get it? Huh?! See…see! Yeah, I know. I need to get a life.
I often get emails from people requesting recipes for dishes they don't know how to make – especially recipes for foods from their favorite restaurants. As many of you know, I really enjoy developing recipes so feel free to let me know what you'd like to see on my blog. If you have any requests, just leave a comment at the bottom of this webpage. If I think your request will have public appeal, I'll try to post a recipe sometime. I hope you like today's experimental recipe. Enjoy – and happy getting "Lost"!
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Shepherd's Pie Lasagna
For the Potato Layer:
2 egg yolks
2 c leftover thick mashed potatoes
1/2 c freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 - 3 TBSP flour (depending on how thick your mashed potatoes are)
1 TBSP butter
1/2 bunch scallions (white and light green parts), chopped
For the Meat Layer:
1 TBSP oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c red wine (such as a merlot)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
1 can (10 3/4 oz) low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 tsp beef bouillon
1 TBSP worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
For the Top Layer:
1 1/2 c freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 to 3 TBSP cooked and crumbled bacon pieces (I use "Real Bacon" from the salad aisle)
Other Ingredients Needed:
9 No-cook lasagna noodles
Chopped scallions or parsley for garnish
For the Potato Filling: In a large bowl, add the egg yolks, leftover mashed potatoes (cold or room temperature), the cheeses, and the flour then stir to combine. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped scallions and sauté until soft – about 3 minutes. Add the scallions to the potato mixture and stir to combine. Set aside until needed. Note: It is important to you use somewhat thick, leftover mashed potatoes (or use store-bought). If you normally prepare thin mashed potatoes like my grandmother does, the potato filling will not set up properly and will be a bit messy when you cut into the cooked lasagna. It'll still taste good but it will be a bit messy.
For the Meat Filling: In the same skillet you cooked the scallions in, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the hamburger and a little salt (not too much since you'll be adding salty bouillon later) and some pepper. Brown then drain. Return the browned meat to the skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is really hot and the hamburger is sizzling really well, add the wine and stir until it has mostly evaporated and absorbed into the meat – about 4 minutes. This cooks off most of the alcohol so the meat does not end up tasting "boozy." Add the peas and carrots and stir to combine. Add the soup, bouillon, worchestershire sauce, and milk and stir to combine. When the mixture begins to simmer, reduce to medium heat and cover. Simmer 10 minutes (covered), stirring after 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer uncovered for 5 additional minutes or until the mixture is pretty thick. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside until needed. You will add the cheddar cheese during assembly.
Assembly Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350F. When the meat is in its last 5 minutes of cooking, fill a 9 x 13" dish with very hot tap water. Place the lasagna noodles in the water and allow them to sit for about 5 minutes – swishing them around every so often to make sure they're not sticking together. After 5 minutes, remove the softened noodles one-by-one from the water and place them on a clean kitchen towel to drain.
Spray a 2-quart dish with cooking spray. Place about 1 cup of the meat filling on the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of the noodles – tearing the noodles as needed to get them to fit in the dish. Place half of the meat filling on the noodles followed by 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese. Add another layer of noodles. Next, add the potato filling and spread the potatoes as evenly as possible – going all of the way to the edge of the dish. Add a final layer of noodles then top with the remaining meat mixture. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese on top. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the lasagna. Bake for 30 minutes then remove the foil and bake an additional 30 minutes. Sprinkle the bacon pieces on top and return to the oven for 3 minutes to crisp up the bacon. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped scallions or parsley.
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 4:36 PM