I know what you’re thinking…how on earth could a Lasagne ever be low-fat and delicious?…well I have found the answer my friends… LEEKS!! Simply replace carb-heavy Lasagne sheets with the good-old leek… and viola a scrumptious meal that is perfect if you have an intolerance, or if you are cutting down on the old carbohydrate intake!
Now, I also know what your thinking…making supper with a four year old??? – perhaps not the best idea in the world BUT why on earth wouldn’t you? Our supper this evening was a joint effort between Livvy and I! Although, yes, Livvy isn’t allowed to use a knife to chop and yes she isn’t allowed to use the cooker to cook, she is allowed to gather the ingredients together, help weigh, mix, stir (off the heat!) and it’s a brilliant opportunity to reinforce maths, discuss how the veggies grow, what animal beef comes from….you get the picture!!
- 2 large leeks (about 300g in total)
- 1 onion
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 500g/1lb 2oz lean minced beef
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 150g/5½oz mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 150ml/¼ pint red wine (optional!)
- 200ml/7fl oz beef stock (made with one stock cube)
- 400g/14oz can tinned tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 heaped tsp dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 500ml/18fl oz semi-skimmed milk
- 3 tbsp cornflour
- freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 50g/2oz extra-mature cheddar, grated
- 25g/1oz parmesan, finely grated
- 3 medium vine tomatoes, sliced
- freshly ground black pepper
How We Made It
- Trim the leeks until they are about the same width as your lasagne dish. Then slice the leeks length ways through to the middle but no further.
- Open out the leeks and remove five or six of the narrow leaves from the center of each leek. Thinly slice inner leaves.
- Cut the onion into two and finely chop one half and the other half cut into wedges. Chop the celery and carrots and slice the garlic.
- Put the minced beef in a large non-stick frying pan with the sliced leeks, finely chopped onion, celery, carrots and garlic.
- Brown the mince over a a medium heat (there is no need to add any form of cooking oil!) for about 10 minutes.
- Then add the mushrooms and cook for 2–3 minutes more.
- Sprinkle plain flour over the mince and veggies and stir thoroughly. Slowly stir in the red wine (if you are using it) and beef stock. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato purée and dried oregano and one bay leaf , bring it to a simmer. Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 mins
- Now while the mince is cooking, put the onion wedges in a saucepan with the the other bay leaf. In a small bowl mix three tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour.
- Pour the rest of the milk into the pan with the onion wedges and set it over a low heat. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the milk to infuse for 10 minutes.
- In a separate deep-ish saucepan bring some water to the boil. Take your leeks and open them out (these will be your “lasagne” sheets! Add the leek ‘lasagne’ to the pan and bring the water back to the boil. Cook until tender (about 5 mins)
- Once tender drain the leeks in a colander and allow to stand.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Take the onion wedges and bay leaf out of the simmering milk, then return the pan to the heat. Add your prepared cornflour/milk mixture to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently, when it ready the sauce should be thick and creamy.
- Take off the heat and grate nutmeg over and add black pepper to season and stir (if the white sauce is too thick simply add more milk!)
- Lastly, put a largish dollop of the meat/veggie mixture into the bottom of your lasagne dish (about 1/3) then layer the leeks over the top – repeat process a couple of times, then lastly finish by pouring over your white sauce, add the grated cheese and top with fresh tomatoes
- Cook in the pre-heated oven for about 30 mins – or until the cheese topping is bubbling away beautifully! Serve with fresh salad
Now, a little word I omitted the booze element – and have to say it was divine without it! Also I forgot to buy parmesan…certainly didn’t need this either – it was delicious!!! I will also make a promise now, never, ever to have proper lasagne pasta again…this most definitely is WAY better!!!!
I would love to say that I came up with this brilliant recipe myself, alas I didn’t, the Hairy Bikers did Here is a link to the original recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/skinny_beef_lasagne_87277