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Chicken Lasagne

Nothing says comfort more than a big slice of cheesy baked lasagne, and this unconventional twist on the classic is no exception. Flame cooked chicken infused in rose harissa is cooked through a devilishly rich sun-dried tomato sauce, layered under creamy bechamel sauce and lasagne sheets, topped with a generous serving of cheese for maximum indulgence. Cook uncovered in the residual heat of Ooni pizza ovens, before turning the flame back for that caramelised crisp finish. 

Equipment
26cm/10” deep casserole pan
Ooni Cast Iron Pan

Ingredients
Serves 4-6 as a main

For the chicken sauce
4 chicken thighs, skin on
2tbsp Belazu Rose Harissa Paste
500g chopped tomatoes 
1tsp Belazu Sundried Tomato Paste
½ tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp chilli pepper flakes
Yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped/minced
6 lasagne sheets
Grated cheddar and parmesan cheese, to taste

For the bechamel
50g plain flour
50g butter
400ml milk
100g grated cheddar cheese
50g grated parmesan cheese
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp english mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Fire up your Ooni pizza oven. Aim for 662˚F (350˚C) on the stone baking board inside. You can check the temperature inside your Ooni quickly and easily using the Ooni Infrared Thermometer.

Place your cast iron pan inside to preheat.  In a large bowl, add the chicken thighs and rose harissa and toss to coat. Remove the hot pan and add the chicken. Leave to sizzle for a couple of minutes, until the skin on the underside has turned crispy. Flip the thighs over then return the pan to the oven to cook for a further 5 minutes until both sides are crispy and brown. 

Remove the pan and transfer the chicken to a clean chopping board to cool slightly. In the meantime, add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and cook in the oils of the chicken in the oven for 2-3 minutes until soft and golden brown.

Add the tomatoes, sun dried tomato paste, oregano, seasoning, and chilli flakes to a saucepan and cook over a medium heat. Add the cooked onion and garlic and bring to a simmer. 

In the meantime, cut the browned meat away from the chicken bone, keeping the skin on. Be careful not to contaminate any other food prep surfaces as the chicken is not fully cooked at this point. Add the chopped chicken to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes while you prepare the bechamel sauce. 

In another pan, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir continuously until a thick paste is formed, cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the milk slowly, mixing constantly to create a smooth sauce. Once all the milk is added, add the nutmeg and cook for a further 5 minutes until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard, cheddar and parmesan. Season to finish. 

In your baking dish, add half the chicken sauce, followed by an ⅓ of the bechamel sauce. Add a layer of lasagne sheets, then repeat with remaining chicken, bechamel, and lasagne. Top with the remaining bechamel, and a generous sprinkle of cheddar/parmesan. Cover with aluminium foil.

Turn the oven completely off, or if cooking with wood/charcoal – let the flames die down and keep the door off. Cook the lasagne in the residual heat of the oven for 10 mins, turning halfway. After 10 mins, remove the aluminium foil and sprinkle over a final layer of grated cheddar. If using gas, turn the oven back on to a low flame, if using wood, spike the flame for a final burst of heat, and caramelise that cheesy crust! 

Once the cheese on top is golden brown and bubbling, remove the lasagne and let cool for a couple of minutes. Serve right away with some fresh salad. Whoever said chicken doesn’t belong in lasagne hasn’t tried this recipe! 

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