19/01/2013

Primal Lasagne

Primal Lasagne If there's an envelope to push, you know I'm going to push it ... Lasagne, anyone?

It may surprise you to know that Lasagne is actually British! No, really ...

Mentioned as Loseyne in 'The Forme of Cury', a 14th Century English cook book, where the recipe is recorded as:

"Take gode broth and do in an erthen pot, take flour of payndemayn and make therof past with water. and make therof thynne foyles as paper with a roller, drye it harde and seeth it in broth take Chese ruayn  grated and lay it in disshes with powdour douce. and lay theron loseyns isode as hoole as thou mizt and above powdour and chese, and so twyse or thryse, & serue it forth."

Easy ... so "sheets", cheese and something between them ...

Primal Lasagne!

Okay, so what the heck is primal about Lasagne, eh? Well, nothing, especially not since primal is most certainly not about emulating neolithic foods with alternative ingredients - that's just gluten-free.

Whenever I see recipes that emulate neolithic meals that are presented by simple placing the word "Paleo" or "Primal" up front, it gives me a smile - a smile is not a bad thing; a sneer is.

I smile. I smile because they do it, I do it, we all do it. To some extent, all so-called Primal cooking is quite neolithic in itself. Substituting ingredients that are negative to our health with ingredients which are not is eminently primal ... and a good thing to do.

Here's how not to do just that ...

Jump to about 43 minutes in for the substitution sketch

I hope you had a laugh ... L&H are quite probably the absolute genesis of film comedy. Whatever they do is funny ... everything after is a copy of these guys' comedy genius. Stanley is a northern Brit, don't you know.

Back to it ...

I also smile because this kind of food is quite often comfort food - it should make us smile. Tonight, cold, snowing and next to a warming fire, a plate of comforting Lasagne with a glass of nice Chilean Merlot is just the ticket.

We should take time to smile. I have read, although I am hazy about the reality of it, that when we smile, our brains release happiness into our system. It's a nice thought.

Let's get to it ...

The filling is a simple ragu of minced beef, onion, garlic, celery, carrot and mushroom in a chopped tomato, puree and beef stock sauce. Slow-cooked for three hours, reduced, perfect!

The cheese sauce is cheddar - medium and mature, mixed, in a mixture of half cow cream and half goat milk. Reduce until thickened.

The "pasta" is a manioc pancake - a cup of manioc flour (Brazilian sour starch, as I buy it), half a cup of finely grated pecorino, a sheep cheese, four eggs and an inch off a stick of goat butter, melted. This made me three large (12") pancakes, nice and thick, too, so three layers in the lasagne ("thryse" in our Old English tongue).

You can make these up while the cheese sauce is reducing and thickening. Don't be tempted to use arrowroot in a dairy sauce - it will look disgusting!

Ready to put it together?

In a 12" square dish, some cheese sauce, some ragu, a pancake and then repeat two more times. More cheese sauce over the top and some fresh herbs. Pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes until crispy and brown on top, then serve out.

Primal Lasagne

Of course, if you have a different shaped dish, perhaps oval, make smaller pancakes and put two side by side to fill the shape.

Better than pasta-based Lasagne? Not 'arf!

12 comments :

  1. ummmmuuaahhhhh love to see it, how much teasty it will be..... looking very very nice

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    1. Thank you Sonia - yes, it was very tasty indeed! There were some leftovers which we enjoyed for lunch today with some tenderstem broccoli.

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  2. That looks utterly divine! I love recreating the "classics," or are they the moderns? haha I must make this!

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  3. Paul, this was by far the most popular recipe we shared today! I definitely have to try it out soon. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

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    1. My pleasure! Yes ... WHOA! YES! That was popular!!!

      We all need a break every now and again. If you're going to make comfort food, make it the very best that you can. This was a perfectly primal meal, really enjoyed and a real treat.

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  4. I am drooling! I will have to make this when I am done with my Whole 30! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Denise. Indeed! That is exactly what treats are all about. Enjoy, when you make it.

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  5. This recipe looks delicious! I added it to my shared recipe and community forum site,
    paleo-connection.com, but I'm curious if you think I got the measurements about right? Also, how long should it bake for and to clarify, do you reduce the ragu with the lid off on a low simmer? Thank for the info!

    http://www.paleo-connection.com/node/297
    (I'm still working on linking your picture on my site to your page)

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    1. Hi Elizabeth - glad you like it.

      The ingredients list is right. I don't weigh or measure, but the amounts seem good.

      I simmer my ragu for a good couple of hours; three, usually, four is not unheard of. For the last hour, take the lid off and let it reduce. If necessary, whack up the heat at the end to get the last of the liquid off.

      Once assembled, bake in the oven at 200C(400F?) for about 15 minutes, just to colour the top. Okay?

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  6. Replies
    1. ... it does now.

      The one linked to previously must have been removed. Thanks for the heads-up.

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