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Lasagna, anyone?

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At the very last meeting of my Monday night class last semester, we got talking about food. One student was having issues with lasagna...loved to eat it, hated to make it because she didn't really know what to do. Evidently, she was raised on Stoffer's, not on fresh. I said I often make it when I have people coming over, and she asked for the recipe. I chuckled...my 'recipe' for lasagna is done on the fly, much like my 'recipes' for minestrone, spaghetti sauce, chili, and a few other soups. I know what I want in there...the measurements are 'whatever looks right'. But, she asked, so I figured I'd have to make a pan of lasagna with the intention of writing down the recipe.


(My mother, by the way, HATES this...she wants to know how I do things, and my only response is, "uh, well, you know, when it looks right...when it tastes right." She's a great cook--and a great teacher--but doesn't trust herself to not follow a recipe save for a couple of things. She really could do it, but she wants the comfort of a recipe. Me? Yes, I have plenty of recipes and cookbooks, but a lot of what I do is creative process, most of the time tasting pretty good.)


I've been telling everyone around here for a week: Saturday night I'm making a lasagna, c'mon over. Bring anything you want...I got the entree. Most people said they'd be around, and would come on over. No sweat...people over, brisk winter evening full of comfort food and wine (well, for me).


Sun rises on a gorgeous Saturday morning...and I'm starting to get retractions. "Aw, man, something came up..." "Sorry, dude, I promised...." blah blah blah. Eh, to hell with them. I'm making the lasagna, I'm writing down what I do, and anyone who misses is going to be lacking some damned good food.


(To be fair, my lasagna has the flavor, but it always gets a little watery. But, hey, it's damned tasty. Work in progress, my friends.)


So, tonight, Bella and I enjoyed a night to ourselves...not one soul over here. Ok, Bella didn't get any lasagna (although she was the sweetest begger you ever saw when I was opening cans of tomatoes and tomato paste). And now I have most of a pan of good stuff left over...yikes!


So, uh, anyone want lasagna?

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Hell yes I want lasagna.


I cook the same way. My wife says I'm a good cook, but I think its just that I know what I like when it comes to flavors. Like you said, its a creative process and you get better at it over time.


I got my start when I was a poor bachelor trying to make a meal when all I had was stuff like the heel from loaf of bread and some condiments. lol


Do you like green chile? I have a good recipe for green chile chicken stew.

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Oooh I love green chili, but have never made it. I usually make a red chili, using dried Hatch and Guajiro chilis to make the red sauce. I'd love a green chili recipe, though!

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It seems hard to believe that there was ever a time in our nation -- especially in multicultural New York -- when lasagna was an unfamiliar dish to the majority of the American people.


But awhile back I got to watching the old Danny Thomas Show (also known as Make Room for Daddy and set in New York City), and I remember one episode in particular where showbiz entertainer Danny and his homemaker wife Kathy are talking about visiting friends for dinner, and they're going on about the exotic dish that will be prepared -- called "lasagna." This was filmed back in the '50s.


I also remember my first experience of tasting the British equivalent of "lasagna" in a restaurant over in England in the '80s, and thinking to myself: "They call this lasagna over here?" It was basically a stew in brown gravy, kind of like Hamburger Helper. I don't know whether the British Isles have caught up with the making of actual lasagna now, as I've never dared to try it over there again since that first experience.


-- Nephele

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Well, I don't have a recipe for the green chile, I use this :



It has the best flavor in my opinion. This is for a large batch, so you might want to cut everything in half. Everything is cooked in a large pot.


I use 2 of the regular jars of medium heat green chile sauce (the jars on top in the picture on the website). I puree them in a blender but if you like a chunkier texture its not necessary. The green chile is about the same texture as chunky salsa.


I use about 1lb of chicken breast. I usually season the chicken with a little salt/pepper/onion powder/garlic powder and sear it on both sides in a little oil in the bottom of the pot, but that's optional of course.


After searing the chicken, pour the green chile into the pot along with about an equivalent amount of chicken broth. Stir it up and let it simmer for a couple of hours (you can also make it in a crock pot). Its done when you can push a spoon or spatula through the chicken.


Fish the chicken breasts out of the stew and cut them up. They should basically fall apart as you cut them. Put the chicken back into the stew.


That's the basic stew. I usually make some instant rice and put it in there if I'm going to eat it as stew. The rice will tend to thicken it up a bit so if you do this you might want to use more chicken broth. You can use the basic stew as a topping for just about anything that goes with green chile.


Its also good to have when you have any sort of congestion or sore throat because it will seriously clear you out.

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