The Hungry buck’s ultimate 12 hour lasagne

As you might guess from the title this one is a big recipe for me as it takes one of my favourite dishes and elevates it to a whole new level. A level in which a simple lasagne becomes an experience that warms the soul and soothes whatever worries you may well have… sounds dramatic right? wait until you try it! Beef that melts away from the fork in a rich tomato sauce paired with enough cheese to give a cartoon mouse a migraine and a silky bechamel sauce to glue it all together.

The problem is it all sounds a little run of the mill in terms of lasagne as lets be fair, that’s what they all have going for them and it is the reason everybody tends to love it. The thing that differentiates this lasagne from any old chucked together pasta dish is the ragu… a 12 hour labour of love that makes all the difference!

What you’ll need:

  • 1kg beef brisket/ roasting joint
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 jar of red pesto
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 4 smoked streaky bacon rashers, diced
  • Large handful of basil, roughly chopped or torn
  • 2 mozzarella balls, diced
  • 100g grated red Leicester
  • 100g grated strong cheddar
  • 16 lasagne sheets (I use wholemeal but not essential!)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

and for the white sauce:

  • 25g butter
  • 30g tbsp plain flour
  • 1 pint milk
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. First of all prep the beef by removing any string or packaging and preheating your slow cooker on low. (You can use your oven on a low equivalent temperature but a slow cooker uses less energy and is so much easier to monitor)
  2. Put the beef in the slow cooker and add the stock and dried oregano… walk away and leave it for 12 hours.
  3. After 12 hours remove the beef. In a tray or bowl, gently tear the meat apart with two forks until it is all shredded. Leave to stand for a minute.
  4. Preheat a pan on a medium/low heat with the olive oil and add the bacon. Fry until browned then add the garlic, celery and onion and keep on a low heat until softened.
  5. Add the beef to the pan with the tomatoes, tomato puree and 2-3 ladles of the cooking broth from the slow cooker, making sure the ragu doesn’t get too loose then stir to combine, turn the heat up slightly and simmer for 10 minutes. If the mixture starts to dry up add more cooking broth.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees or gas mark 4 and in your chosen lasagne dish spread your pesto evenly across the bottom and layer your first four lasagne sheets across the bottom of the dish.
  7. Put another saucepan on the hob on a low/medium heat and add the butter, when it just starts to melt shake in the flour and whisk well until it comes together completely (it will look a bit lumpy but don’t worry) then slowly start to add the milk, about a quarter at a time until it thickens then add more. Once it has all combined season to taste but I would recommend plenty of pepper!
  8. Take the now bubbling molten ragu and put a thin layer all the way across the pasta. Sprinkle a few little bits of the red Leicester and cheddar across it and drizzle the bechamel evenly to create a thin quilting across the meat. Repeat this to create four even layers and finish off with the last of the white sauce and scatter all of the cheese across the top of the lasagne. Put into the oven for 45 minutes or until the cheese has browned and the pasta has cooked through.
  9. Eat it and forget about any kind of calorie counting for the duration of the meal! I recommend serving with a glass of red wine, a few slices of garlic bread or like I did with some baked stuffed gnocchi and a salad.

IMG_1554
Serving suggestion: Lots of garlic bread, some baked filled gnocchi and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Goblin ghoul-ash

It’s that time of year again! The leaves are falling and the fresh food that has spent the summer slowly maturing to its full and gloriously ripe potential is rolling onto the shelves. It is honestly my favourite time of year but lets be fair, as a person who is obsessed with food why wouldn’t it be? It’s a time when we start to consume warming stews and soul caressing roasted meats that are packed with the fruits of the British summer time, providing flora and fauna with ripening nourishment.

However once a year a dark cloud looms heavily over the land as the date wheel strikes 31, the spirit of Halloween creeps across the woodland and the flicker of a thousand pumpkin lanterns twisted smirk’s illuminate the night sky… on October 31st the season of mischief is in full swing and to celebrate this epic arrival I have put together a recipe using the finest ale that the UK has to offer. The unofficial king of Halloween, Wychwood’s Hobgoblin provides the ruby nectar that lifts this dish to new levels.

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 500g stewing steak
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 large Onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 clove Garlic, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 4 large Tomatoes, diced finely
  • 1 bottle Hobgoblin (Ruby)
  • 300ml beef stock, prepared in advance if your using stock cubes.
  • 1 handful flat leaf Parsley, chopped
  • black pepper and salt
  • 150ml thick soured cream

12115534_724260191051922_7581107220367881581_n

  1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large casserole dish or oven proof saucepan on the hob.
  3. Put the beef and flour into a bag and shake/ work well so all the beef is well coated.
  4. Add the meat to the pan and brown well all over, then remove and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining oil to the pan and throw in the onion, celery, squash, garlic, both peppers and fry until softened and the squash starts to brown.
  6. Add the beef back to the pan with the tomato puree and paprika and give it a good stir.
  7. Now is the time for the most vital part of this wicked recipe… crack open the bottle and add the Hobgoblin, stock and chopped tomatoes. Stir while on the heat for a minute or so then cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and stir in the parsley and the sour cream, season well and continue to stir until well combined.
  9. Serve with fresh bread and brown rice for a truly wholesome Halloween inspired autumnal treat!

Hobgoblin-Standard-Clip-2013-2

  • * 2 large Tomatoes, diced
  • * 75ml dry White wine
  • * 300ml beef stock, home-made or shop-bought
  • * 2 tbsp flat leaf Parsley, chopped
  • * black pepper
  • * 150ml Soured cream