I reckon that in our family, turkey lasagne is more awaited than the Christmas turkey itself. It's a great way to use the stock from the bones plus the leg and thigh meat left over from your Christmas feast.
This dish is best prepared a day ahead, leaving the final baking for the day of serving. It can also be frozen before baking. This batch was big enough to make one large and one medium lasagne. The smaller one went in the freezer.
Preparation time: 3 hours
Baking time: 45 mins
For the ragu:
- 1kg cooked turkey meat, roughly chopped
- 8-10 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 glass of white wine
- 1/2 of a 200g tube of tomato puree
- 3 x 680g jars of tomato passata
- 2 teaspoons of salt
For the turkey stock:
- 2 onions halved (skin on)
- 3 medium carrots, halved
- 1 small celery stick
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Turkey carcase, broken up
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Enough water to cover
For the white sauce:
- 2 tablespoons of plain flour
- 50g butter
- 400ml of turkey stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the final assembly and topping:
- 500g lasagne sheets
- 250g grated mozzarella cheese
First remove the meat from the carcass and roughly chop it. Then start off the stock by sauteing the onions, carrots and celery for a few minutes in a large stock pot (mine is 9 litres), add the turkey carcass, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently with the lid partly on for 2-3 hours.
Once the stock has been started, begin making the ragu in another large saucepan (6 litres minimum). Add the crushed garlic, olive oil and tomato puree to the pot on a medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly so as not to burn the garlic, then add the white wine and cook gently for a few minutes until the base starts to thicken slightly. At this point, the smell is amazing.
Then add the 3 bottles of passata, bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The turkey meat is already cooked so it goes into the ragu after the sauce is cooked and only for a further 20 minutes or so.
For the white sauce, melt the butter in a small sauce pan, add the flour and mix thoroughly before adding the stock. Cook gently whisking constantly until it reaches a thick but pourable consistency.
For the final assembly in a large shallow pan, poach the lasagne sheets 2 -3 at a time in turkey stock for just a couple of minutes to soften them slightly.
(After all this plus making a turkey pie filling (see photo below), I was left with almost a litre of stock which went in the freezer for another day.)
Get two lasagne dishes and start with a layer of pasta at the bottom. Then a layer of ragu, another layer of pasta, another of ragu and so on until finishing with a layer of pasta topped with a thin coating of the white sauce before the final sprinkling of grated mozzarella.
The lasagne can now either be baked straight away at 180 deg for 45 mins, or stored in the fridge for a couple of days before baking. Alternatively it can be frozen and enjoyed after the turkey mania has subsided a bit.