Tuesday 28 October 2014

Mexican Lasagne

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Who doesn't love a good lasagne?

 My chicken lasagne is one of the most popular recipes on this blog. Today, I'm going to share with you a Mexican Lasagne.
So, what do I put in my Mexican Lasagne? 

How about a spicy lamb mince chilli with borlotti beans and in place of the white sauce, a fresh spinach and coriander sauce? Layer the whole lot up with lasagne sheets and Cheddar and you have a delicious, warming dinner on your hands!
This recipe is also perfect when cooked and assembled in advance - as I found out when I first made it back in September.

Lasagne, previously: Chicken Lasagne 

A Simple List of Ingredients:

1. Vegetable Oil
2. Lamb Mince
3. Onion
4. Bell Pepper
5. Jalapeno Chilli
6. Garlic
7. Salt and Pepper
8. Red Chilli Powder
9. Ground Cumin
10. Brown Sugar
11. Tomato Puree
12. Dried Oregano
13. Tinned Tomatoes
14. Tinned Borlotti Beans
15. Spring Onions
16. Fresh Coriander
17. Baby Spinach
18. Tomato Passata
19. Cheddar Cheese
20. Lasagne Sheets

Bismillah, let's begin!

First, to make the lamb chilli. The chilli is so delicious that you could just make it and serve with boiled rice.
Anyway, in a large pan, on a medium heat, drizzle in a few tablespoons of Vegetable Oil.

Once the oil is hot, add 1 pound Lamb Mince.

Cook until completely brown, stirring now and again.
Meanwhile, take:
1 Onion
1 Bell Pepper
2 Jalapeno Chillies
4 Garlic Cloves

Peel and dice the onion. Dice the bell pepper and jalapeno chillies. Peel and finely chop the garlic.

And, once the mince is brown, throw them into the pan.

Sprinkle in a little Salt and Pepper, to taste.

Stir and cook for 8 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and take on some colour.

Then, take:
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Red Chilli Powder (or to taste)
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Tomato Puree
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano

Add to the pan and cook for 1 minute to wake up all the spices. This is done on a medium heat.

Next, take a tin of Tomatoes (400g chopped or plum) and a tin of Borlotti Beans. Traditionally, red kidney beans are added to a chilli but I had borlotti beans in the cupboard. So, put in whatever you have and leave them out too, if you want.

Add the tinned tomatoes to the pan.

Rinse the can out with water and add that to the pan as well.

Drain and rinse the beans, and throw them in.

Stir together and bring to the boil.

Once boiling, turn the heat to the lowest. Cover and leave to cook for 1 hour. Stir the chilli now and again.

While the chilli cooks, make the spinach sauce. The main ingredients are fresh coriander, baby spinach and spring onions.

Into a blender, place 4 Spring Onions, roughly chopped.

Along with a few handfuls of Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped.

And, a few handfuls of Baby Spinach.

To get it blending, you'll need some sort of liquid. Water would be good but I decided to use Tomato Passata.

Blend the greens to a smooth paste.

Pop into a bowl.

And, season with 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano. And, Salt and Pepper, to taste.

Stir together and the sauce is ready!

And, this is the chilli, after 1 hour. Taste it for salt and adjust if needed.
Leave to cool slightly before layering into the lasagne.

To assemble, take a deep oven dish. Mine was square but any shape would do.
Spread half the chilli at the bottom.

Next, a few tablespoons of the spinach sauce.

Followed by a sprinkle of Cheddar Cheese, grated. Grate it yourself, the pre-grated stuff isn't very good.

And, then place on Lasagne Sheets. You don't have to pre-cook these and it doesn't matter if they overlap. I used a mixture of normal and wholemeal but any would do.

Repeat the layering and finish with more spinach sauce and Cheddar.

At this point, you could cover it and bake whenever you needed. I usually make it in the morning and bake in the evening for dinner.

To bake, place it onto a larger oven tray. This will make it easier to get in and out of the oven.

Bake at Gas Mark 5 or 200 degrees C.

Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes.

Then, uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes to get the golden brown top.

Let it cool for 10 minutes before digging in - if you can wait that long!

Serve up with a homemade Pico de Gallo salsa.

Full Written Recipe:

Mexican Lasagne

Ingredients – serves approx. 6 people

For the Lamb Chilli
Few tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 pound Minced Lamb
1 Onion, peeled and diced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
2 Jalapeno Chillies, diced
4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
1 and ½ teaspoons Red Chilli Powder (or to taste)
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Tomato Puree
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 tin (400g) Plum Tomatoes
1 tin Borlotti Beans

For the Spinach Sauce
4 Spring Onions, roughly chopped
Few handfuls Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped
Few handfuls Baby Spinach
Tomato Passata, as needed
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano

To Assemble
Cheddar Cheese, grated and to taste
Lasagne Sheets, as needed


First, make the lamb chilli. In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over a medium heat. Add the minced lamb, and cook until completely brown.

Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 8 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and colour.

Add the chilli powder, ground cumin, brown sugar, tomato puree and dried oregano. Stir and cook for 1 minute over a medium heat.

Add the tinned tomatoes. Rinse the tin out with the water and add that too. Throw in the borlotti beans too. Bring to the boil and then simmer on the lowest heat. Cover and leave for 1 hour – stir every now and then.

Taste for salt, and adjust if needed. Cool until needed.

To make the spinach sauce, blend the spring onions, coriander and spinach with a few tablespoons of tomato passata. You can also add water, as needed, to get it going.

Once blended to smooth, pour into a bowl and add the dried oregano, salt and pepper.

When you’re ready to bake the lasagne, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 or 200 degrees C.

Take a deep oven dish, and first place half the lamb chilli, a little spinach sauce, then cheese and finally, lasagne sheets.

Repeat the process again and finish with spinach sauce and grated cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes covered with foil.
Uncover and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Serve with a fresh salsa such as pico de gallo.

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