Chicken and Leek Lasagne

There is lasagne love going on in my kitchen. Lasagne al Forno last week and chicken and leek this week. The sauce could be made in advance and is a simple stew of onion and leek with small scraps of chicken with a thick and creamy white wine, chicken stock and milk sauce; a very rich take on the more usual béchamel. I dredged the top with lashings of grated Parmesan mixed with coarse breadcrumbs made with stale sourdough. I served this handsome lasagne with a tumble of peas and asparagus.

Serves 3-4
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 60 min

1 onion
50g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
200g leeks
4-5 chicken thigh fillets
2-3 tbsp flour
150ml white wine
150ml chicken stock
300ml milk
375g egg lasagne sheets
squeeze lemon
4 tbsp coarse home made breadcrumbs
finely grated Parmesan

Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Melt half the butter in the olive oil in a spacious lidded sauté/frying pan and stir in the onion. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, add a generous pinch of salt, turn the heat low, cover and leave to cook while you trim and slice the leeks in 1cm thick pennies. Agitate the leek in a bowl of water and drain. Cut the chicken into large Dolly Mixture size pieces. By now the onion will be semi-cooked. Stir in the leek, cover again and cook, giving the occasional stir, for 10-15 minutes until the leek is soft and sloppy. Tuck the flour-tossed chicken between and around the leek and cook, turning/tossing the pieces as they change from pink to white. Add the wine and stock and simmer for a few minutes whilst stirring to make a thin, smooth sauce. Tip the contents of the pan into a mixing bowl. Add 50g butter to the pan, stir in 1 heaped tbsp flour, adding 300ml milk, stirring constantly to make a thick, smooth sauce. Carefully drain the juices/sauce from the chicken into the sauce. Simmer to amalgamate, taste and add salt and lemon as needed to fine-tune the flavours. Begin layering up the lasagne – I chose a gratin-style dish 20x30x5cm – starting with a small smear of the sauce followed by a third of the chicken, a scant layer of sauce, lasagne sheets to cover and then repeat once ending with a very generous layer of sauce. Mix together Parmesan and breadcrumbs and dredge over the top of the lasagne. Place in a shallow roasting tin in case of spillage as it cooks in a hot oven – 180C/gas mark 4 for 30 minutes or until the top is very crusty and golden. Be careful as you tuck in, it will be very hot.