Friday, 24 February 2017

Jamaican Lasagna


It’s always a good day when you make lasagna with totally unconventional flavors. I had to infuse this one with as much Jamaican flavors as I could. The only thing left to go in there was some ackee. It’s loaded with callaloo, plantain, coconut milk, jerk bacon, the works. This might just be better than a traditional lasagna…just might!

It was most interesting to eat this, because my eyes see a lasagna but my taste buds are processing callaloo and plantain with a side of beef patty. It is quite delicious, very flavorful. I cooked the pasta perfectly this time. I always tend to overcook pasta sheets not to mention they always stick. Then by the time I start to layer and bake they just fall apart, never truly hold up when sliced. This time I added a good amount of oil to the water and I stood over the pot and stirred and cooked them to just al dente, borderline underdone, just to make sure that the time in the oven would bring it to perfection.

I must admit the fillings were based off what had at the time. After all I am Jamaican so anything in my kitchen could have been added to this to make it a Jamaican lasagna. I had a nice bunch of callaloo, and a very very very very very ripe plantain in my refrigerator. The skin was totally black and the platin was a very bright orange and soft to the touch, not rotten just very ripe. I was perfect to make a nice paste to add a sweet element to the lasagna. And to be honest it was a nice surprise to get these bursts of sweetness amongst the beef and cheesy layers. One thing I also noted was the flavor of the plantain was not lost at all, I’m not sure if it’s because it was so ripe, but you could tell it was plantain.

Let’s see I made this lasagna yesterday (Thursday) in a half foil pan and today there is a 2 inch by 2-inch cube left. My husband is father Christmas when it comes to my cooking, he divides and conquers and gives as much as he can to all his friends, and then there is us too. We ate a good portion of it. All in all, it was quite good, can’t even lie. I would make this again. Probably with a layer of jerk chicken in there.

Ingredients (printable recipe)

For the beef
2 lb ground beef
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
2  tablespoon Coconut oil
1 pack jerk bacon
2 scallion stalks
1 hot pepper
2 tablespoon all allspice
½ small onion
10 crackers
3 cups water
1 beef boullion
For the callaloo coconut sauce
3 tablespoon coconut oil
1 bunch callaloo finely chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
1 onion sliced
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups Coconut milk
3 cloves garlic shredded
1 tablespoon Honey
1 tablespoon ground Allspice
1 Scallion stalk chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
For the ripe plantain spread
1 very ripe plantain
1 pinch salt
2 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped onion
Other ingredients
4-5 cups Pepper-jack cheese
3-4 cups Cheddar cheese
1 box cook lasagna sheets


For the beef
  • Season the beef with 1 tablespoon coconut oil, salt, black pepper and onion powder set aside
  • Chop the bacon into small bits
  • In a deep pot add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and fry the bacon until they are half way cooked
  • Once they are half way cooked add the beef and allow it to brown, the bacon will render its fat and finish cooking with the beef
  • In a blender combine 1 cup of water, hot pepper, allspice, scallion and onion, blend to a smooth paste
  • When there is no pink left in the mince add the puree
  • Stir and cook for a few more minutes
  • Blend or crush the crackers into very fine crumbs, basically powdery
  • Add the crackers, water and bullion to the meat stir and lower the heat simmer on low heat for 30 minutes
  • This mixture should be rich and creamy, set it aside for an hour or two. Even overnight. Spoon off any excess oil that build up on the top before assembling in to the lasagna

For the callaloo coconut sauce
  •  Roughly chop the tomatoes onions
  • Finely chop the callaloo
  • In a pan heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and sauté the onions and tomatoes
  • Add the callaloo and salt, stir and cover, allow the callaloo to cook for 5 to 10 minutes it should produce its own liquid and wilt down.
  • Once the callaloo is cooked remove from the pot and blend with 3 cups of coconut milk
  • In the same pan heat two tablespoon butter and one tablespoon flour and stir to allow the roux to brown about three minutes
  • Pour the callaloo coconut mixture back into the pot. And allow it to cook and thicken
  • Season the mixture with garlic, allspice, honey, thyme and chopped scallion. If it needs a bit more salt you can add to your taste as well.
  • Once its thick and creamy set aside for lasagna assembly

For the plantain spread
  • Take a very ripe plantain and the onion and mince together to form a paste
  • Season with salt black pepper and cayenne pepper
  • Set aside in the refrigerator until lasagna assembly

  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Book the lasagna sheets in boiling water with salted and with a bit of oil. This will prevent the sheets from sticking. Cook until al dente then drain
  • Shred the cheddar and pepper jack cheese
  • To assemble start by spooning the callaloo coconut sauce in the bottom of the pan followed by 3 to 4 lasagna sheets overlapping then meat, plantain paste, sauce and cheese. Repeat the layering until the pan is filled. The top layer should be meat plantain sauce and finish with cheese all over the top
  • Cover with a greased foil paper and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • After that time remove the foil and cook uncovered for another 25 minutes
  • Once the cheese get golden remove from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting. 
callaloo coconut creams sauce

Plantain puree

Xoxo Greedygirl

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