Chicken and Collard Greens Lasagna

I have always loved lasagnas.  I don’t know what it is about layered dishes and sweets that I enjoy so much, besides the fact that dismantling them seems like the closest acceptable thing to playing with your food.  Mama’s meat and cheese lasagna is pretty amazing too.  I was one of those spoiled kids in college who would get overnight packages with all sorts of perishable goodies.  Once a semester, that happened to be a rock frozen homemade lasagna.

My “usual” lasagnas layer homemade meat sauce, a mix of ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses, and defrosted frozen spinach sandwiched between the lasagna noodles. After the refrigerator incident, and now especially that hurricane season has started, every weekend becomes one of those ‘clean out your fridge’ missions to have just enough perishable food in the house.  I had been toying with making creamed collard greens out of a large pack I got at the farmers market and that, along with the contents of my fridge at the time,  inspired me to switch up the flavors of my usual lasagna.

This particular lasagna was very easy to put together.  I prepared the bechamel while the chicken poached, and used the resulting broth to braise the collard greens and soften the lasagna noodles (I do not boil them before baking).

Poached Chicken and Collard Greens

  • 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 green onion, bruised
  • 1 garlic clove (smashed)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 springs thyme
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • salt to taste

In a shallow 3 quart sautee pan, place all the spices and the chicken and cover with water.  Poach chicken for about 30 minutes over medium heat until cooked thoroughly.  Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and shred with two forks.  Spoon some of the resulting broth over it and set aside.   Take about half a pound of young tender collard greens (seven or eight large leaves) and poach, covered, until tender.  Remove the greens, squeeze or spin out the excess liquid, and chop into smaller pieces.

Hello, delicious whirpool! If you use bone-in chicken thighs, the resulting stock would be even better.

Shallot Bechamel Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Grated nutmeg to taste (optional)

In a medium saucepan sweat the shallots in the butter for 3 to 5 minutes over medium or medium low heat.  Carefully warm the milk in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and set aside.  When the shallots are translucent, add the flour and cook for about two minutes, until the flour begins to get a bit of color (blonde roux level). Slowly stream in the milk, whisking the roux in.  Bring up the sauce to a boil until it thickens to your liking.  Season with salt, white pepper, and grated nutmeg and set aside.

This is a suggested amount of sauce because I didn’t want to completely drown the chicken and greens in it, but if you like your lasagnas creamier, by all means increase it by an extra half or full cup.

(Photography Tidbit - it is much better to adjust the white balance in the camera than in post-processing. Compare the first picture with this one!)

The Assembly

  • 1 loaf pan
  • 6 whole wheat lasagna noodles, snapped to fit (you may also use regular noodles)
  • Shredded chicken
  • Shallot bechamel sauce
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese to taste
  • Chopped braised collard greens
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Soften the lasagna noodles in the chicken broth for about a minute, and trim to fit a loaf pan by length.  Spoon a bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan and spread it to cover.  Add the first two noodles, and create the first layer by covering them with half of the poached chicken, a third of the remaining sauce, grated Parmesan cheese to taste, and the greens.  Create the second layer in the same order.  For the ‘lid’, add the noodles and cover with the last third of the sauce and extra Parmesan cheese.  Cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil and for forty minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for five more minutes.  Allow to rest for at least ten more minutes, and serve.

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

7 Responses to “Chicken and Collard Greens Lasagna”

  1. August 3, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    This looks fantastic! Love this recipe! 🙂

  2. August 3, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    this is not only delicious but I know it is healthy too with collard greens in your lasagna 🙂 Thanks for sharing the recipe with us. Have KIV it 🙂

  3. August 3, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    I always think of collard greens being very African American and obviously lasagna being Italian this could easily be a Bronx meal. A delicious healthy dish

  4. August 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Yummy tasting pasta combo. Love the greens!

  5. August 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    I love the idea of using collard greens because they have such a good flavor.

  6. September 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    I LOVE this. I really like white (or rather, non-red) lasagnas, and this looks fantastic. Great use of collard greens too! I might try something like spinach too.

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