Wednesday, February 9, 2011

For The Love Of A Rotisserie Chicken

Since Valentine's day is upon us I think that a post about love is quite appropriate.  So this post is simply about my love for rotisserie chicken's.  My reason for loving them is quite simple.....they make my life easier, and anything that can make my life a little easier I immediately place in the love category. 

A rotisserie chicken makes my life easier by being delicious, affordable, and versatile......and of course when I am done with them I am able to add to my skeleton collection in my freezer so I can make chicken stock until my little heart's content (that sounds a little disturbing.....oh well).  So needless to say many rotisserie chickens have been used in my kitchen to make sandwiches, soups, casseroles, burritos, get the point.  But this time I decided to use my tasty roasted chicken to stretch my wings and deviate from a very comfortable path, a lasagna path. 

Usually for me when I do lasagna I do a traditional red sauce lasagna, but this time I wanted to be a bit daring and mix it up a bit with a white sauce lasagna featuring my tender bird sitting in the fridge, waiting to be dismantled.  I also decided to incorporate lemon and yummy artichokes into my lasagna (boy I feel so saucy right now!).  I did however underestimate how much bechamel I would need for a lasagna, so that was a bit of a bummer, and while I did like it (my husband especially liked it), change for me is a bit difficult, and I missed my red sauce lasagna.  So if your feeling a bit daring, and love bechamel this baby is meant for you.  Change is good, except when red sauce is missing from the equation.

Artichoke And Chicken Lasagna

Cook Time: 1-1/2 Hours

1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
16oz frozen artichoke hearts thawed and chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
zest from three lemons
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
16oz whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups pesto
8 cups whole milk
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 package no boil lasagna noodles
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl combine the ricotta and the eggs.  Set aside.  In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute until tender, about three minutes.

Add the chicken and the artichokes and saute until heated, about 10 minutes.  Add a teaspoon of the salt, half a teaspoon of the pepper and half of the lemon zest.  Saute for an additional minute then remove from the heat.  Add the lemon juice, stir, and set aside. 

For the bechamel heat the milk over medium heat in a heavy pot until steaming but not boiling.  While the milk is heating melt the butter in another pot over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk into the butter.  Let the roux cook for about 2 minutes. 

Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly.  Whisk the milk until thickened, about 8 minutes (it should coat the back of a spoon).  Remove from heat and stir in the remaining salt, pepper, and lemon zest. 

To assemble the lasagna butter a 9x13 in glass dish.  Ladle a layer of bechamel on the bottom (about 2 cups).  Next add a layer of noodles, then spread half of the ricotta mixture on the noodles.  Add a layer of pesto on top of the ricotta followed with a cup of the mozzarella and then 2 cups of the bechamel.  Next add another layer of noodles, then chicken, then mozzarella, then bechemel.  Continue with the layers until you have used all the ricotta and the chicken. 

Finish with a layer of noodles and top off with the last of the bechamel.  Sprinkle Parmesan on top and place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the lasagna is browned and bubbling.  Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.

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