Thursday, 7 August 2014
Slow Cooker Lasagne
I had some time recently to experiment with my slow cooker. I have been making all sorts of bread and scrolls in it, with great success. Just lately it has become a tradition in my home to make a lasagne every Sunday for the kids, and they have the leftovers the next night. When I discovered I could make it in the slow cooker, and then found out how well it turns out, I decided I will never make it in the oven again. It only takes 3 hours on low (depending on your cooker) and it is beautifully moist. I also find the ceramic bowl so much easier to clean than an oven baked lasagne dish...and apparently the running cost of your slow cooker is cheaper than your electric oven, even with the extended cooking time.
Ingredients (for a six litre slow cooker)
1 x finely chopped onion
400g tin tomatoes
1 x jar pasta sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp beef stock
2 tsp ground oregano
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 pack dried lasagne sheets
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
3/4 cup grated cheese
Some versions of this recipe say you can add the ingredients to the mince meat and put it in the slow cooker raw, but I always make my meat sauce first in a separate pan. You can use your normal lasagne recipe which is what I used for this one.
Brown the onion until clear and then add the meat and brown, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic, beef stock, oregano, tomatoes, pasta sauce and tomato paste and stir well. Cook for about 20 minutes until mince is cooked through and is a beautiful red colour. It should be quite moist so that when it is added to the slow cooker, the dry lasagne sheets will cook.
Put 1/4 of the mince mixture into the bottom of your greased crockpot (I use spray olive oil). Now you need to make the white sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan, adding the flour, and then gradually adding the milk. I use a whisk to ensure there are no lumps. Cook over a low heat, stirring until thickened. Pour 1/3 of the white sauce over the mince in the crock pot and spread out with the back of a spoon.
Break up your lasagne sheets to fit and layer over the white sauce. Complete this process three times, ending with a final layer of mince. Sprinkle a good layer of cheese over the top. I then place a tea towel over the crock pot before placing the lid on the top. This will stop condensation dropping onto the lasagne and making it soggy.
Bake for three hours on low (check every hour just in case).