My sister in laws mom, Marizete, makes the best lasagna I have ever had. It’s a little different than the lasagna we eat in the US. This lasagna is made with chicken & ham. On Sunday she taught me how to make it and has allowed me to post her recipe on the blog.
Yields 13 servings
1 1/2 heads of garlic
1/2 medium red onion
1 large yellow onion
6 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon of paprika (optional)
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 cups of cooking oil- any oil will work
4 cups of water plus more for boiling
5 18 ounce cans of tomato sauce
6 cans of Creme de Leite ( you can buy this at your local latin market, if you can’t find it, substitute with 3 1/2 cups of cream)
4 cubes of chicken bouillon
7 tablespoons of sugar
2 cans of corn
2 cans of peas
1/2 pound of thinly sliced mozzarella
1 1/5 pounds of thinly slicked ham (if you can, get it sliced at your local market)
1. Cut your chicken into large pieces and put in a pot of water. Cut the 2 lemons in half and add them to the pot. Let it sit for 20 minutes. The lemon gets rid of any bad flavor in your chicken. Remove the chicken from the pot and blot it dry. (this step is optional)
2. Peel, separate and Smash 1 head of garlic with a mortar & pestle, or chop it until its fine. Cut your red onion into very small pieces and set aside.
3. Put 1 tablespoon of salt, paprika, cumin & chicken in a large pot. Add the garlic & onion you prepared and stir it all together to coat the chicken. Add 1/3 cup of oil and cook the chicken on your stovetop on the high setting. Stir occasionally. When the chicken has absorbed the oil, add 4 cups of water, or enough to cover the chicken and boil until the chicken has cooked all the way through. Marizete says as long as you use the ingredients listed above, you can cook the chicken however you like. Set the chicken aside and let cool. Once it is cool you will shred it.
4. Take your yellow onion and cut it into very thin slices. Smash the rest of your garlic and set both aside.
5. Add 1/4 cup of oil to a large heavy bottomed pot. Set to medium high heat on your stovetop. When the oil gets hot, add your garlic and stir occasionally until the garlic gets slightly browned. Add your onions and cook until they are clear. Add your tomato sauce & chicken bouillon to the pot. Stir the pot and break up the bouillon cube. Add seven tablespoons of sugar and continue to stir. Taste the sauce to make sure it is sweet enough. You do not want it too sweet or too sour. Stir occasionally and let the pot simmer for about 10 minutes. Allow the sauce to reach a boil and let it sit for 3 more minutes. Add the Creme de Leite and stir. Strain the peas and corn, add to pot and stir occasionally until it reaches a boil.Remove from heat and set aside.
6. In a large pot add water, 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of salt. Put on stovetop on high heat and stir. Start shredding your chicken very thin while you wait for your water to boil. Set your chicken aside and get a large casserole dish. Overlap your pasta in the casserole dish layer by layer. One layer horizontal, the other layer vertical. Fill the casserole dish with the boiling water and let it sit for four minutes, so it gets slightly cooked, but stays stiff. Drain the water and set your pasta aside.
7. Take your casserole dish and put a thin layer of your sauce in the bottom. Add a layer of pasta and above that, another layer of sauce. Make a layer of ham followed by a layer of cheese, sauce, then chicken, and more sauce. Add another layer of pasta followed by sauce, chicken, ham, and sauce. The top layer of your lasagna should be cheese. Sprinkle oregano on top of the lasagna and cook in the oven at 400F for 40 minutes.