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Guest Post: Chicken Meatball Lasagnettes

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Recently I have made a new friend on Twitter, who recently posted a recipe for the best things he had ever eaten.  That says a lot in my world and I was very impressed with this foodie’s posts and interest in food.   I’ve asked him if I could re-post his most recent recipe here and he gave me his blessing.  When you have a moment browse his site for recipe ideas and fantastic pictures!  I someday would like to attain to that level of photography.  Here is a link to his site: http://www.thepeche.com/

The Recipe: Chicken Meatball Lasagnettes with Creme Fraiche Bechamel and Chicken Jus

Original Source: Barbara Lynch’s book Stir (link)

Here is my friend’s post on this recipe and his wife’s picture – Directly imported from their site (http://www.thepeche.com/A big thank you for allowing me to re-post this the peche!  I hope to make this soon myself!  Dear Reader: Lasagnettes are really just mini lasagnas.

Let’s get this out of the way. This is the best meal we’ve ever made.
You know when you make something to eat, and you know it’s going to be good? But then you taste it, and it blows your mind and taste buds. And your soul?

This recipe is that something. It earned our eternal devotion to Barbara Lynch, the amazing chef and restaurant owner in Boston who is also the author of Stir. It’s light, creamy, salty, savory.
You must make this. And even if you don’t make this (which you can count as the greatest mistake in your life), read the recipe, because you can see the way Chef Lynch thinks. This recipe is all about building deep, concentrated flavor. For the jus alone, you’re going to cook down 16 cups of chicken stock into 2 cups of dark liquid gold.
I’ve included our changes/shortcuts/modifications. You should buy her cookbook so you can see exactly her approach for yourself. It’s a fantastic collection of great food (see her seared scallops with celery root gratinee).
This is a dish of components. This may look overwhelming, but break each element down. It’s not a big deal. Make this over a couple of days. Everything keeps perfectly for a day or two or three. You’ll have eaten every bite of it by day three.
chicken jus
  • 1 chicken, 7-8# (or whatever you can find)
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 carrot, chopped roughly
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped roughly
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped. Roughly if you feel like it.
  • 2 c dry white wine
  • 16 cups low-sodium chicken stock (do not use regular chicken stock. You’re condensing this down to 2 cups, so you want to control the salt)
  • 1 T coriander seeds
  • 1 T black pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt
  • Black Pepper
Preheat your oven to 350F. Get a roasting pan ready or use a cookie sheet covered with foil (easy cleanup).

Cut off all the meat you can from the chicken. I didn’t strip ours clean (wing meat, really?). I focused on the breast, thigh, and leg meat. Set the meat in the refrigerator.

Remove all the skin from the chicken. Chop up the bones a bit (you want to expose some marrow), so that you have 8-10 pieces. I chopped off the wing tips because they seemed like they’d burn in the oven.
Throw the chicken on the pan, and get it in the oven. Roast until you get golden pieces (40 minutes was good. Go longer if you want. Or shorter.) See, you’re not wasting the meat you didn’t pick off — you’re roasting it into deep flavor for the jus.
Throw the bones in a pot. Heat over medium-high. Add in the onions, crrot, celery, and garlic.
Keep stirring them for about 10 minutes.
Add the wine. Reduce it by half.
Add the broth, stock, coriander, and bay leaves.
Reduce it over a good simmer until reduced to four cups. This may take a couple of hours. You could drink during this time.
Strain the jus through a fine strainer. Mash the broth out of the vegetables. Don’t leave any of the flavor behind.
Add the broth to a smaller saucepan. Reduce to 2 cups.
Add the thyme for 2 minutes right before serving.
Season to taste with salt and pepper
chicken meatballs
  • chicken meat
  • 1T vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped. Then chop it more finely.
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 c panko
  • 8 T grated Parm
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 T chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil. Then the shallot and garlic for 8 minutes. You want them really tender but not browned. Take the pan off the heat.
In a small bowl, add the panko and cream together. Stir. Leave it alone to think about what comes next.
Grind the meat in a food processor until chopped finely. Dump it in a bowl. Add everything left on the list, along with 1 tablespoon of salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix together. Gently add the panko mixture.

Chef Lynch suggests frying a small bit of the meat as a patty in a skillet. Taste for seasoning (we needed more salt).

Heat the oven to 350 F.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Form 3/4 inch meatballs and place on the sheet. Don’t let them touch each other. Bake for 8 minutes or so. Ours needed to go for another 90 seconds.
creme fraiche bechamel
  • 4T unslated butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 3/4 c whole milk
  • 1/3 c heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 c creme fraiche
  • white pepper (yes, you could use black, but it’s not the same)

Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk for 5-8 minutes. It’s going to smell nutty, but don’t let it get very dark.

Add the milk, cream, and 1 teaspoon of salt. You could cook this for 7 minutes, but ours set up like glue in 2 minutes, and we thinned it out with a bit of milk and cooked it for the rest of the time.

Take it off the heat. Stir in the creme fraiche. Taste it. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Push the salt a tiny bit, especially if you’re afraid of salt.

pasta
  • Flat fresh pasta sheets; make your own (you’re so fancy, aren’t you?) or buy it like we did (could you use lasagna noodles here? Probably so. Don’t let the lack of fresh pasta stop you from making this. But try to find fresh. Try really hard.)
Heat a pot of water to boiling. Salt it.
Cut 4-inch rounds out of the raw pasta. Keep the scraps for another pasta dish.
Cook for 3 minutes. Plunge into an ice bath. Dry each piece.

to assemble the awesome

Heat the oven to 300.
On a baking sheet, place down parchment or a Silpat and spray a tiny bit of vegetable oil on top. This stuff will stick like a mother, and you don’t want it to fall apart at the very end.
Lay down a round of pasta. Cover with 1 tablespoon of bechamel. Cover with 3-4 meatballs. Lay down another bit of pasta. Meatballs. Bechamel. Pasta. Meatballs. Bechamel. Pasta. Stack it as high or as low as you want. You could cut the meatballs in half, but don’t.
Place a tablespoon of water on the baking pan. It’ll steam a bit. Bake for 15 minutes. Maybe a little less.
Use two spatulas to pick up the lasagnettes. Place them in a shallow bowl.
Spoon jus over the top. Spoon some around the base.
Top with some shaved Parm.
Sit down somewhere quiet. Use a big spoon. Get every component in that first bite. Savor. Pay attention to everything that’s happening in your mouth.
When all the lasagnette is gone, go ahead and tip the bowl into your mouth. Don’t let a bit of the jus go to waste.

Isn’t it brilliant?

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Author: goodcookbecky

I am a home school mom of three wonderful kids. I have been married for over 20 years and am still in love. I love to cook, as a young child I enjoyed spending time with my mom in the kitchen and that love has grown into a passion. I started this blog to share my favorite recipes with friends and family and have enjoyed seeing it grow beyond those boundaries.

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