Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My very own Lasagna

Okay folks, here it is... a recipe I made 100% from scratch and without any inspiration from any source, using some of the knowledge of food I have gained over the last few months. I do cook without a recipe quite often, but this one is worth publishing, I think, even though perhaps it is nothing spectacular and I am sure that somewhere out there, someone has made this probably much better than I. I did, however, get the stamp of approval from my family on this one, and I am pretty sure we will be making this a staple.
What I have made is what I call a Bacon Chili Bean Lasagna. It feeds 6 - 8 for under $10 and pairs quite nicely with either a Caesar Salad, or torn leaf lettuce with Balsamic Vinaigrette. This Lasagna is not like some other Mexican inspired tortilla shell casseroles, but takes on more of a southern flavour, one of home made refried beans with a variety of textures and flavours that do not get lost in putting it all together. Sweet corn contradicts salty bacon, chewy cheese balances the starchy beans, fresh parsley cuts the heat of the chili. All this in a fresh tomato base. I am happy with the result.

Bacon Chili Bean Lasagna
Serves 6 - 8

8 slices Bacon, small dice
1 medium or two small Onions, small dice
2 Carrots, medium dice
1 Celery stalk, medium dice
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
3 tbsp Tomato Paste
3 medium ripe Tomatoes, medium dice (skin on)
1 cup Tomato Puree
1 - 2 tbsp Chili Powder, according to personal taste
1/2 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 - 1 tsp Salt, according to taste
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 can Black Beans, 540mL, drained
1 can Red Kidney Beans, 540mL, drained
1 cup frozen Peaches and Cream Corn Kernels
9 Lasagna Noodles
1 cup shredded Marble Cheddar Cheese
about 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf Parsley

Saute bacon in a large saute pan over high heat until crisp. Remove bacon, lower heat to med-low. Add onions, carrots and celery, sweat in the bacon fat without browning until soft.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato puree, plus a pinch of salt to release water in the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, bouillon cube, oregano and black pepper.
Simmer on med-low until it has been reduced to puree consistency, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. (Do not use no cook noodles.)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Use a potato masher to gently smash beans. You want to release the starch, but avoid loosing all shape and form of the beans.
Add the reserved bacon and the corn (no need to cook it). Heat to warm throughout. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and chili powder.
Place about 1/4 of the bean mixture on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Top with three noodles, then layer: 1/4 of the bean mixture, 1/2 of the cheese, 3 noodles, 1/4 bean mixture, 3 noodles and the remaining bean mixture.
Cover the baking pan with tin foil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and parsley. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

Brenna said...

I'm letting my carrots, onions and celery "sweat" (a technique I've never used before) and when I lifted the lid to check on them the most wonderful smell came out! mmmmm...