Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ready Steady Cook: Part Two, The Main Course


The challenge continues...

I managed to survive the first course of my 3-course meal for the Ready Steady Cook challenge. So far, it's been so much fun coming up with ideas for my little menu. The only struggle has been the lack of onion in my options list and the fact that i have only two vegetable-type ingredients; mushrooms and tomatoes. But, not being one to give up easily, i am happy to find interesting variations on trusted themes, and also to create some themes of my own.

The main course definitely requires a dark green salad with a decent helping of peppery rocket. It's super rich and creamy and a burst of fresh, crispy greens would balance it perfectly. If you read my starter post, you'll be happy to know that this is a far less complicated recipe.

Luxurious Free-Form Lasagna with Minute Steak, Mushrooms and Creamy Garlic Bechamel

The Italian theme has made its way into the second course, too. I was going to make a full baked lasagna, but this turned out to be the better, and easier, option, especially due to my limited ingredients. It was so good, though! I'm pretty sure it disappeared as soon as it had been photographed!

What you'll need, per person:

4 Lasagna sheets
about 3 Minute Steaks, depending on their size
a handful of button mushrooms, sliced
olive oil, just a little
dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper

Garlic Bechamel Sauce (for two) (adapted from an excellent recipe by Michel Roux)

2 small cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
salt and freshl;y ground black pepper
a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  1. Cut the minute steaks into strips about 1cm wide, season with chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Toss in a bowl with some of the olive oil, cover and set aside to marinate.
  2. Bring a pot of well-salted and oiled water to the boil and cook the lasagna sheets individually, being sure to keep them from sticking together. 
  3. While they cook, make the bechamel sauce:
    1. Melt the butter in a small, heavy saucepan over a low to medium heat, then add the garlic and stir until the butter is flavoured
    2. Add the flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly with a small balloon whisk. If it seems to be cooking too fast, turn the heat down a little
    3. Pour the milk into the flour mix (roux) little by little, whisking continuously to ensure a smooth sauce, slowly bringing the sauce to a boil.
    4. As soon as you see that the sauce is boiling, don't stop whisking, but turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes.
    5. Remove from heat, season to taste and stir in the fresh parsley.
    6. Strain through a sieve into a dish and cover with plastic film to prevent a skin forming.
  4. Heat your frying pan to a medium to high heat and add some of the oil from the marinade to your pan.
  5. Lightly fry the mushrooms in the pan until they are well coloured and flavoured.
  6. Turn the heat up and toss the minute steak strips into the pan. They should have enough oil on them from the marinade, so don't add any more. 
  7. Cook them to flavour and seal them, but as soon as they have browned, remove them from the pan. They become tough very quickly, so you'll want to avoid over-cooking.
  8. Ok, now put it all together:
    1. Keep aside some some mushrooms and bechamel for the topping.
    2. Combine the steak and mushrooms with the bechamel sauce, making sure you coat everything with the saucy goodness.
    3. Drain and pat the individual lasagna sheets dry and place one on each plate
    4. Generously spoon some of the mixture onto the sheet and top with a layer of lasagna. You should be able to have three layers of filling and a top layer of lasagna.
    5. Using a small knife or a spatula, spread a thin layer of the reserved bechamel sauce onto the top layer and top with the left-over mushrooms. 
    6. Garnish with sprigs of the flat-leaf parsley and serve immediately.


  1. free form lasagna, never thought of that...

  2. This looks fantastic will be trying it at the weekend

  3. Mushrooms, Steak and Bechamel Sauce... I'm there!
    - Brittany