28 January 2009

swiss chard & mushroom lasagne

by Rowley Leigh , Financial Times June 2007

click image for slideshow


pint milk
½ onion
6 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 large sprig thyme
30g butter
30g plain flour
750g Swiss chard, substitute kale or cavolo nero
4 garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
400g peeled and chopped tomatoes
400g Portobello mushrooms or similar
1/2 lemon (substitute wine or sherry vinegar)
100ml double cream
packet of lasagne sheets
20 basil leaves
25g grated Parmesan

Pour the milk into a saucepan with the sliced onion, the cloves, bay leaves, thyme and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Simmer for three minutes, leave to infuse off the heat.

Make a roux with the butter and flour, cooking them together for a couple of minutes to a sandy texture before adding a little of the strained milk and whisking to a smooth paste. Add the remainder of the milk, whisk well and simmer together on the gentlest possible heat (a diffuser mat helps) for 15 minutes.

Prepare the Swiss chard by rinsing well then separating the fleshy white stalk from the leaves by running a small knife up the side of the stalks. Chop the stalks into sections one centimetre wide and cut the green tops, separately, into similar size ribbons.
Leave aside.

Peel and chop the garlic finely and fry in a tablespoon of olive oil for a minute before adding the stalks. Stir with a spoon and then stew the chard for five minutes until it starts to wilt and become tender. Pour in the tomatoes, season well and stew gently for five minutes before removing from the heat and allowing to cool.

Wipe the Portobello mushrooms clean. Slice to just under half a centimetre thick. Heat a large frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the mushrooms, adding the juice of the lemon half way through and seasoning well. As soon as they are cooked but still quite firm, drain in a colander over a bowl and let the juices drip into the bowl.

Heat the frying pan again with another tablespoon of olive oil and add the green tops of the chard. Cook on a high heat until they become wilted and tender and combine with the mushrooms.

Make the white sauce by adding the cream and the mushroom liquor together over heat and whisk well. Reduce slightly so that the sauce becomes thick but starts to have a lovely velvety consistency. Check the seasoning of the sauce for taste.

Assemble the lasagne starting with one layer of cream sauce, one layer of lasagne, one layer of tomato mixture and basil leaves. Continue this for three layers. Sprinkle the top with cheese and bake in a medium hot oven, 200ºC, 400ºF, for 40 minutes.

Note: for a large lasagne - generous 15 people

multiply ingredients x 4 & cook for 1 & a quarter hours or so


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