Just when you thought I’d covered all bases with mine and Hungry Hubby’s love of lasagne, here comes another one! My Greek Lamb Lasagne is our latest lasagne love and I really hope you like it too.
I fall victim to buying the same things every time I go food shopping, just like anyone. The thing that is different for me, is that I get a kick out of taking familiar ingredients and making them new and exciting. I think my Greek Lamb Lasagne does that.
Normally, minced lamb ends up as burgers or keema here in the Apple Chapel but making a ragu with a few Greek flavourings (fresh fennel, dill and oregano) and topping with feta, possibly my most favourite cheese in all the world, well, I am in heaven! Plus Hungry Hubby never turns down any sort of lasagne!
Now, in Greek cuisine, there is such a dish called “pastitio” which uses minced lamb but it is layered up with cooked pasta tubes and a white sauce that is enriched by the addition of an egg or two. That is a beautiful thing and more traditional but it’s a little heavier and as lamb is fattier than beef, I think this lasagne is more fitting for summer eating.
A giant Greek salad is absolutely essential to eat alongside (with yet more feta) if you ask me! I was late to the party when it comes to loving olives but Hungry Hubby still hates them so I leave them whole in the lasagne and salad, so he can pick them out and I can eat them for him! Let me persuade you to use them even if you aren’t sure about them as they are brilliant for seasoning, having been stored in brine.
Now, I love how the Instant Pot cooks a ragu so I do use it to make all m ragus these days but you can cook it on the stove instead. I love that using my pressure cooker means there’s no extra heat in the kitchen (and I am posting this recipe in a week where Yorkshire is experiencing 30˚C heat every day – insane for us!), not to mention how hands-free it is and how tender the minute comes out in next to no time.
But as I finish it in the oven, rather than cook it all in the Instant Pot, I’ve left that out of the title of the recipe. However you make it, make sure you try my Greek Lamb Lasagne with all of its richness, saltiness and gentle aniseed fragrance from the dill and fennel. You’ll be licking your plates clean!
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 medium carrot, peeled
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1 small red onion
- 500 g minced lamb
- 2 bay leaves
- 60 ml Vermouth (can substitute for 120ml white wine)
- 400 g canned tomatoes (approximately)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried dill (or use 1 tbsp fresh)
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 4 tbsp pitted olives of your choice
- 2 tbsp soft butter
- 2 tbsp plain flour (can substitute for cornflour)
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 450 ml milk (semi or full fat)
- 150 g feta cheese
- 12 dried lasagne sheets*
Start by preparing the soffritto - that means throwing the the peeled garlic, carrot, fennel and onion into a food processor and pulsing until you have a fine confetti. You can do this by hand with a sharp knife if you don't have a processor.
Put the Instant Pot onto Sauté and add the lamb mince. As it is much fattier than beef, cook until browned and if there is lots of oil, spoon it off and discard. Add the soffritto and cook for a couple of minutes until softened.
Add in the bay leaves, Vermouth, tomatoes, oregano, dill, parsley and the olives. Add in half a can of water (swish out any remaining tomato instead) and stir very well. Put the lid on and set the pot to Manual High for 15 minutes. QPR or NPR as desired. If very liquid, use Sauté to reduce it, stirring frequently.
In a medium saucepan, cook the butter, flour, mustard powder, and nutmeg together for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly to prevent it sticking or burning.
Gradually dribble in the milk a little at a time, whisking constantly over medium-high heat until all of it has been added. Continue to cook and whisk until thickened.
Preheat oven to 180˚C.
I like to do four layers of meat sauce, pasta and white sauce. And I usually make fresh pasta but you can use dried without changing the recipe. Use a dish about 20x30cm and layer up meat, pasta and white sauce. Top the final layer with the feta, crumbled into little chunks.
Cook for 45-60 minutes until cooked through, and the feta has melted just a little but caught in places. Allow to stand for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving with plenty of salad on the side.
*= or if wanting to make fresh pasta, follow the instructions in my recipe for squash, celeriac and caramelised onion lasagne here.
This lasagne freezes well whole or sliced - I typically serve half and freeze half. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat slices for 20-25 minutes wrapped in foil in the oven until piping hot all the way through (on 180˚C). For a whole lasagne, you'll need to allow 30-35 minutes to reheat from chilled.
If not using an Instant Pot, simply cook the meat sauce on the hob. Cook for 45 minutes partially covered and if too liquid, reduce down before assembling.
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