Granny Taylor’s Lasagne

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Ingredients

Serves 5

For the mince:

  • 1 kg mince
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3 garlic
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 200ml red wine
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons mixed herbs (oregano , rosemary)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 heaped teaspoon vegetable bouillon

 

For the cheese sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 600ml milk
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon

 

To assemble:

  • Lasagne sheets

 

For the topping:

  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated

Timings

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Granny Taylor’s Lasagne

Lasagne is one of those meals that people think is quick and easy, a perfect solution when you have friends over. Although it’s neither quick nor easy… You need time and patience… It’s not a Spag Bol that you can prepare in minutes, leave on the stove to cook, and then boil up some pasta for. Nor is it a Chilli thatΒ  takes a similar amount of time. Lasagne is a meal which needs time set aside for. And once you’ve freed up that time, it is one of the most beautiful meals to make and enjoy with family or friends. There are so many stages where you can pour in the love (the secret ingredient to any meal!). First up make the mince as tasty as you can. Add in the flavours. Let it cook and evolve. Next, you’ll need to make the sauce. Once again, focus on making it thick, smooth and cheesy. And thirdly, it’s all about the layers. Start with mince, then pasta, then cheese sauce, then mince and repeat until the last layer you have is cheese sauce. And finally, it’s the beauty of it when it comes out. Seeing how the flavours and textures of the three elements have combined together is always an utter joy. It’s a creation. And time very well spent.

Method

Place the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish over a high heat. Add the mince and fry for 5 minutes until it starts to go brown. Turn down the heat to medium and add the onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic and paprika. Stir for a further 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.

Turn up the heat again and add the wine. Let it reduce for 3 minutes (while the alcohol and steam burn off). Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mixed herbs, bay leaves and vegetable bouillon. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer. Pop a lid on and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180/350/gas 4 and make the cheese sauce.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. When it’s melted, take it off the heat and add the flour. Beat in well with a non-electrical hand whisk (or wooden spoon) until you have a paste.

Place it back on the heat and stir for 1 minute while the flour cooks. Slowly add the milk, tablespoon by tablespoon, beating well with the whisk between each addition.

Once you have a thick, smooth, liquid you can start to pour in the milk in a thin stream, whisking all the time. When all the milk has been used up, whisk again and bring to the boil to allow it to thicken. Add the grated cheese and vegetable bouillon and stir. Set to one side.

Once the mince is ready, it is time to assemble the lasagne.

Spread a thin layer of hot mince over the base of the ovenproof dish. Then place the lasagne sheets over, being careful not to overlap them. If you have gaps, break some up to fill in the missing pieces like a jigsaw.

Next spread over a thin layer of cheese sauce, followed by another layer of mince. Repeat with a second layer of lasagne, cheese sauce and mince.

Finish with a final layer of lasagne and cheese sauce. Sprinkle over the additional cheese and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top if golden, the sauce is bubbling and the lasagne sheets are cooked.

If you feel the top is burning, cover the lasagne in tin foil and pop it back in the oven until the lasagne sheets and sauce are cooked through.

Serve with greens and a lovely salad.

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Hands down my Granny Taylor used to make the best lasagnes. But then doesn’t everyone feel like that?! I remember long Sunday lunches at her house not far from Salisbury, looking outside the window, while I gobbled down delicious plates of lasagne listening to the adults witter on. And always, without fail, going back for seconds.Β 

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