Dead Posh Beef Lasagne
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
I do love a big tray of lasagne, it’s one of our favourite meals at Chez Lavender and Lovage, and as well as being a favourite with all the family, it freezes well too, making it cost-effective. So, when I received a HUGE hamper full of ingredients from good old Lea & Perrins, makers of “Wooster Sauce”, I went immediately into BIG HUGE lasagne making mode! Worcestershire sauce is an essential in my store cupboard, this quintessentially British condiment goes in all sorts of recipes here, such as cheese on toast, Shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, my dad’s “Quorn” casserole, soups, stews, gravy, spaghetti Bolognese, pasta bakes etc……
……but our favourite way to splash the brown stuff is on a freshly made “Bacon Butty” – it’s the only sauce I ever add to a bacon sandwich. I was sent a recipe for Beef Lasagne from the Lea & Perrins recipe archive, just as well as I was definitely in a lasagne making mood, as well as the hamper and a supermarket voucher to purchase the chilled items I needed. I have to say that I have a pretty amazing recipe for lasagne already, but I was impressed with the recipe I was sent, and it seemed to have lots of high-end ingredients in it, hence my title “Dead Posh Beef Lasagne”. One of the best surprises in the hamper, was a fabulous Le Creuset baking dish, in my favourite Volcanic orange colour.
I duly made the Lea & Perrins “Lovelea Lasagne” on Sunday, for friends who were coming over for dinner, and as is my want, I DID tweak the original recipe. The ingredients made a small lasagne, for three people, in the new Le Creuset dish, and also a bigger one in anther dish that served four people; so, although the recipe states it serves six, it is more like seven very generous helpings. The sauce is fabulous – rich and meaty with bags of flavour and lots of vegetables, which we love in a pasta sauce. The original recipe called for celery, but I added fennel bulb instead, as well as fennel seeds, which gave the sauce a delightfully authentic Italian taste, similar to Italian sausages or meatballs.
The lasagne was served with ciabatta bread and a huge bowl of salad, along with a couple of bottles of red and rose wine, and it was very well received. I then popped the smaller tray into the freezer, thus ensuring there was more for a future family supper or weekend luncheon dish. I have copied the recipe for my reader’s enjoyment, below, with my amended tweaks and substitutions, and if you are looking for a one tray bake for all the family, or even just for two or three of you, then DO make this recipe, it’s a fabulous “top end” version of the ubiquitous lasagne and it freezes beautifully. With thanks to Lea & Perrins, who asked me to make a classic recipe, using their sauce, and for the generous hamper and supermarket voucher they sent me. Karen
Dead Posh Beef Lasagne
(Serves 6 to 7 people)
2 onions, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g smoked lardons
750g minced beef or minced steak, 15% fat
150ml red wine
4 tbsp of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp of sun-dried tomato purée
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
250ml Beef stock
Couple of bay leaves
12 to 16 no-cook lasagne sheets
125g mozzarella cheese
A block of Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the lardons and brown. Then add the chopped vegetables and cook for a further 8 to 10 minutes. (Add the fennel seeds if using)
Add the beef and brown well.
Squeeze the tomato purée into the pan and coat everything.
Then pour in the wine and Worcestershire sauce.
Let the liquid bubble for a few minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes and the stock.
Bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer for at least an hour to allow the mixture to reduce.
Halve the other onion and stud with the cloves.
Heat the milk in a saucepan with the studded onion and bay leaves.
Melt the butter in another medium-sized saucepan.
Beat in the flour and cook for a minute (making a roux).
Pour in the strained, infused milk slowly, whisking constantly. Only add more milk once the last has been fully incorporated and is lump free.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Spread the meat sauce over the bottom of a rectangle baking dish.
Cover the layer with lasagne sheets, snapping them where needed to fit the dish.
Spoon over a little white sauce and top with torn pieces of mozzarella, grated Parmesan and a few torn basil leaves.
Repeat, finishing with a top layer of lasagne sheets.
Scatter over a final layer of only cheese, then place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Serve with some salad and garlic bread.