Hatch Green Chile Chicken Lasagna

Lasagna can be a labor of love.

Make the sauce AND the béchamel. Cook the meat. Boil the noodles. Build the lasagna.

These five steps seem simple, but when combined together, the result is not only a delicious meal but also lots of dirty dishes to clean.That’s why lasagna only occurs two to three times a year in my kitchen. I love lasagna but I really dislike the kitchen disaster it leaves behind.

I have a solution for this ever present lasagna issue. Break down the lasagna construction into two separate days:

Day 1: sauce and meat
Day 2: béchamel and lasagna construction

Not only does this allow for a more stress free cooking process, but I have also found that it gives more depth to the lasagna as a whole… it allows the tomato sauce to develop more flavor. Win, win!I attempted this two-day lasagna approach when I started to work on Hatch Green Chile Chicken Lasagna.

(In truth, I hadn’t planned on a two-day lasagna BUT when one breaks a toe standing over multiple pots and pans is the last thing on the to-do list.)After multiple recipe tests I can tell you I will never go back to same-day lasagna construction.

To help minimize the work load even more, I let my beloved local Market Street roast the chicken (and topped with a Hatch glaze!) and the Hatch chiles (because again… broken toe). This was two fewer pans I needed to clean and a guarantee of flavor. You can never go wrong with Market Street’s pre-made dining selections. They’re always there to help make the kitchen experience better.Here’s how it went on my first two-day lasagna construction:

Day 1

The crushed tomatoes, unsalted butter, halved onion and chopped roasted hatch chiles simmered for 35 minutes. The house smelled of a rich Hatch tomato sauce– it was absolutely mesmerizing. Once cooled, I stored the sauce in the fridge to develop even more flavor overnight.While the sauce simmered, I broke down the rotisserie chicken and chopped the meat. I added splashes of fresh lime juice and a bit of seasoning. I placed the chicken in an airtight container to store overnight in the fridge.

During the 35 minutes of simmer time I was able to construct half of the lasagna pieces AND tidy up the dirtied pans. Excellent all around.Day 2

I removed the sauce and chicken from the fridge to bring to room temperature while I prepped the remaining ingredients.

The bechmel was created by melting butter in a sauce pan and whisking in flour, milk and seasoning.Meanwhile, while the bechmel was warming I boiled the noodles and strained the water. I also measured out all the cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, fontina… Market Street never fails to give me ample cheese to choose from) and arranged the sauce and chicken in an organized lasagna station (I’m a bit type A!).

Now that the four main components were completed I toasted to less mess and a more organized lasagna approach (oh…and just a bruised toe!) with a Hatch Margarita (click here for recipe).While the lasagna baked, I cleaned up the mess and felt very content. Clean kitchen and good food.

Looks like I’ll be making more lasagna after all.

Hatch Green Chile Chicken Lasagna

Author note: For a more laid back approach to lasagna, this recipe can be broken down into two days of cooking. Cook the sauce and prep the chicken on day one. Make the béchamel and build the lasagna on day two. Use a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store to make the cooking process a bit easier. Depending on how cheesy you prefer lasagna, feel free to add more parmesan and fontina cheese. Be sure to evenly distribute all components of the lasagna.

for the lasagna

Hatch chile tomato sauce (recipe below)

Hatch-lime chicken (recipe below)

béchamel (recipe below)

lasagna noodles, cooked

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated

2 cups of mozzarella, grated

1 cup cilantro (and more for topping), chopped

lime wedges for serving

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a 9×13 baking dish add a thin layer of tomato sauce.
  3. Place a layer of cooked lasagna on top of the tomato sauce (be sure to cover the whole pan).
  4. Evenly spread a layer of béchamel on top of the pasta.
  5. Add a layer of Hatch-lime chicken on top of the béchamel.
  6. Sprinkle a layer of cilantro on top of the béchamel.
  7. Evenly distribute a portion of the cheeses on top of the cilantro.
  8. Finish with a layer of Hatch tomato sauce.
  9. Repeat all steps beginning with step number 2.
  10. Add a final layer of pasta, red sauce, béchamel, parmesan, fontina and mozzarella.
  11. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. In the final five minutes, turn the oven to broil at 500 degrees and cook until the top of the lasagna is browned, up to 5 minutes.
  12. Top with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

for the Hatch chile tomato sauce

28 ounces crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup roasted Hatch green chiles, chopped (skins and seeds removed)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 onion

  1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan. Simmer for 35-45 minutes. Salt to taste. Set aside.

for the Hatch-lime chicken

4 cups roasted chicken, chopped

1 1/2 cups Hatch green chiles, chopped (skins and seeds removed)

1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeded and chopped

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

juice of 1 lime

  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl. Stir well to incorporate. Set aside

for the béchamel

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups whole milk, warmed

3/4 cups Hatch green chiles, chopped (skin and seeds removed)

pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour. Continue to whisk until the roux (the butter flour combination) is golden.
  2. Pour in the warmed milk and continue to whisk. Simmer until the béchamel is thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the béchamel from burning.
  3. Add the chiles, cinnamon, cumin and salt. Stir well to incorporate. Decrease the heat to low.

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