For this Chicken Lasagna with mushrooms, I'm using morel mushrooms. Pickers forage for morels in the spring, where they flourish in areas where there was a forest fire the previous summer. The little honeycombed fungi are highly prized by chefs and very expensive.
Because they aren't in season, hard to find, and expensive, I'm using dried morels. The bonus of using dried and reconstituted mushrooms, is you get to use the flavourful water that you soaked the shrooms in for your recipe, as well. I used I used that soaking water in the creamy bechamel sauce for this chicken lasagna. Which really amped up the mushroom flavour. I do love fresh mushrooms, but dried ones of all kinds are really handy to keep in the pantry. Since they aren't perishable, you always have mushrooms on hand. You can use dried mushrooms in almost any recipe in place of fresh ones.
Did you know that mushrooms are the only source of natural vitamin D in the produce section? And drying mushrooms increases vitamin content, as a bonus. They are a source of lots of other vitamins and minerals, too. Check out Mushrooms Canada for more nutritional info and recipes.
I have a lot of fresh sage growing in the garden, which is wonderful for Thanksgiving coming soon, and for this chicken lasagna. Sage has a sweet, bitter flavour, and it's always delicious with chicken, and with earthy mushrooms, too. If you don't have fresh sage, you can substitute dried instead.
You can use any mushrooms for this lasagna, including fresh ones, but if you get a chance to try the dried ones, you'll be impressed. This lasagna is rich, creamy and cheesy. It's delicious with a green salad on the side, and a nice change from the usual lasagna. (Not that the usual lasagna isn't delicious too)
- 1 0.5 oz package dried morel mushrooms
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 9 oven ready lasagna noodles
- 1 500 gr tub ricotta cheese
- 2 cups grated mozzarella Cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Put dried mushrooms in hot water to soak.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium high, and cook chicken cubes, until browned on all sides.
- Set aside.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium low heat, then whisk in flour until smooth.
- Remove pan from heat and slowly whisk in the milk.
- Return pan to heat and whisk constantly while simmering, until sauce is smooth and thick. Remove mushrooms from water (they should have soaked about 20 minutes) to a cutting board.
- Whisk mushroom soaking liquid into the bechamel sauce until smooth.
- Remove from heat, and stir in salt, nutmeg, sage and thyme. Coarsely chop mushrooms and stir into the sauce. Stir the cooked chicken cubes in there, too.
- Build lasagna by spreading a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of an 9" x 13" baking pan. Layer three lasagna noodles, then spread with the ricotta cheese and 1/3 of the sauce.
- Layer three more lasagna noodles, then the mozzarella, then 1/3 more sauce. For the final layer, Use the remaining three lasagna noodles, the remaining sauce, and then the Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in center of oven for about 60 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing into squares.
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