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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Recipe - Delicious & Fun Lasagna Pockets


Delicious & Fun Lasagna Pockets

This recipe is based off a Twisted recipe and they have a great video to show how the pockets go together, but I changed the underlying recipe somewhat, so this is my version. I made this yesterday and my husband ate three of them, so I'm counting them as a win. They would be great for a dinner party or a lot of fun for children because there is always something more fun about having our own individual little parcel than just a chunk of a whole.

However, do not fool yourself, these are not easier than throwing together a big lasagna, in fact they are more of a faff :D.

Bechamel White Sauce

Buying the white sauce in a jar or box is fine, but I totally forgot it, so in case you are in the same situation, here's how to make it.


Ingredients

  • 60g (1/4 cup) butter
  • 60g (1/2 cup) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 600ml (2 1/2 cups) milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)

Equipment

  • 1 sauce pan
  • 1 measuring jug/cup measures
  • 1 small whisk
  • 1 small bowl (to measure the flour into)
  • Sieve

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in the pan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the flour and whisk in to form a thick paste.
  3. Add a small amount of the milk and stir until smooth. Repeat this until all the milk is mixed in.
  4. Add the salt and pepper and bay leaf and cook gently, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens (about 7-8 mins).
  5. Sieve (I did this to get rid of the bay leaf, which had lost a few little bits into the mixture) into the measuring jug previously used for the milk and leave to cool.

Lasagna Pockets

First a word about the lasagna sheets, unfortunately not all lasagna sheets are made equal. I don't know what size your average lasagna noodle is in the US, but in the UK, most of the dried, boxed ones I've seen are simply not long enough. I used fresh lasagna sheets from Morrisons which are much bigger, and when split down the centre are perfect for one pocket.

This recipe would work fine in variations for meat eaters or vegetarians, but not vegans, sorry.

The original ingredients were supposed to make four, but with the extra I threw in, it will make at least five (I didn't have room on the baking tray so just made a small lasagna in a take away box which is now in the freezer :)).


Ingredients

  • 500g mince [beef, turkey, soya, quorn etc]
  • 2 small or 1 large carrot
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper [capsicum] (I use roasted, out of a jar because I hate pepper skin)
  • 1 small courgette (zucchini)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced (I use squeezy garlic from a tube :))
  • pinch of salt (smoked salt gives great flavour)
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 tsp chili paste/flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 stock cube [beef or vegetable]
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) sweet sherry
  • splosh of seasoning sauce [Worcestershire or soy sauce]
  • 350ml (1 1/2 cup) passata
  • 350ml (1 1/2 cup) bechamel sauce
  • 250g (1 1/2 cup) grated mozzarella (I used a mozzarella/cheddar mix because I prefer more cheese flavour)
  • 25g (1/4 cup) grated hard Italian cheese [Parmesan or vegetarian equiv]
  • 4 large flat lasagna sheets split length ways to make 8, or 8 individual long ones
  • 2 tsp oil for frying or spray oil
  • fresh basil (optional)

Equipment

  • sharp knife
  • chopping board
  • large frying pan/skillet
  • large flat spatula
  • baking tray (lined with grease proof paper/baking parchment)
  • various bowls and spoons

Instructions

  1. Finely dice the onion, carrot and red pepper.
  2. Cut the courgette in half and slice it into thin strips lengthwise.
  3. Heat 1 tsp of oil in the frying pan and add the mince, tossing it in the oil until coated.
  4. Crumble in the stock cube and cook until the mince is browned.
  5. Remove into a bowl and drain off excess juices.
  6. Put the pan back on the heat and place the strips of courgette all across the bottom of it.
  7. Cook until tender and colouring, turning once in the middle of cooking.
  8. Place flat on a plate and leave for later.
  9. Add the other tsp of oil to the pan and place on a low heat. Add the chopped onion and sweat down until translucent.
  10. Add the garlic, diced carrots and diced pepper. Cook on low until the veggies are tender (this took 20 mins for me, but you can leave it with the lid on and do something else, just coming back every now and then to check and give it a stir).
  11. Stir in the tomato paste and cook through for about 1 min.
  12. Return the mince to the pan and stir so everything is combined.
  13. Add the pinch of salt, pepper and squeeze of chili paste and stir through.
  14. Splosh in the sherry and the seasoning sauce and cook for a minute or so until the sherry is reduced.
  15. Add the passata and bring to the edge of a boil, before turning down and simmering for about 10 mins.
  16. Allow to cool so that it solidifies up a bit - sloppy mince will make for very difficult assembly of the parcels :).
  17. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F
  18. Par-cook the lasgna sheets as instructed on the packet.
  19. If you want to see how the parcels go together - check out the video made by Twisted over at their version of the recipe. Here is my written version:
    1. Place one lasagna sheet vertically on a flat surface.
    2. Spread a thin layer of bechamel sauce in the centre of the strip.
    3. Place another sheet over the first to make a cross, using the bechamel to stick them together.
    4. Put another, slightly thicker layer of bechamel over the square where the two sheets overlap.
    5. Add a layer of the mince mixture on top of this (between 3 and 4 spoonfuls).
    6. Lay courgette strips from each corner over the mince (this will help stop things spilling out when making the parcel).
    7. Cover with grated mozzarella.
    8. Fold up the sides, top, left, bottom, right and tuck the corner of the right one under the top one to make a parcel (like closing a cardboard box).
  20. Transfer the parcels to the baking tray using a wide, flat, spatula.
  21. Cover the top of each parcel with bechamel sauce.
  22. Add grated mozzarella and some of the grated hard Italian cheese over the bechamel.
  23. Bake in the over for 20 mins until golden and bubbling.
  24. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
These are so much fun and worth the effort just for something different. Thanks to Twisted for the original recipe - it's a brilliant idea.

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