I always make sure my husband Chris makes extra chilli-con-carne so I can make this mouth-watering chilli lasagne with the leftovers.
One of the things I love about cooking is taking some leftovers and turning them into something fabulous.
Arancini from leftover risotto is a great one too.
And of course, not forgetting dessert!
Amaretti is the perfect way to use up leftover egg whites. Just freeze the leftover whites when you’ve been using the yolks to make custard or to glaze a pie, then defrost them when you need them.
This Chilli lasagne (or chili lasagna for you guys in the US) is another example of using the leftovers from a great meal and presenting it in a delicious and different way.
My husband is the chilli con carne chef in our house, so I get him to cook at least a double batch. Then I’ll freeze the other half and save it to make an easy lasagne later.
I’ve included the full recipe for Chris’s chilli below, so you may be alarmed at how many ingredients there are, and how long the cooking time is. But the recipe is really for two meals.
Ideally you’ll just be grabbing the defrosted leftover chilli, which cuts the time down to about 40 minutes.
You’ll probably have most of the ingredients for the chilli in your store cupboard, but if you’re missing an ingredient or two (like the chipotle or the chocolate) don’t worry too much, it’s quite a forgiving recipe.
You may notice the recipe only calls for 500g/17.5oz minced/ground beef – to make 4 portions of chilli-con-carne and 4 little lasagnes. Believe me, it’s not often my husband is light-handed when it comes to meat, but the sauce is rich enough, and there are plenty of other goodies in there like beans and peppers that you really don’t need more meat.
Do you have a favourite dish you make from leftovers? I’d love some more ideas!
The Chilli Lasagne Recipe:
For the Chilli Con Carne (note - you only need half of this for the recipe, so you can freeze the other half for later:)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 large onions peeled and chopped
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and chopped/crushed
- 500 g lean minced beef
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- 375 ml full bodied red wine
- 2 beef stock cubes crumbled
- 3 tbsp. honey
- 100 ml boiling water
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp mixed herbs
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 4 tsp cumin
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp hot chilli powder
- 1 tsp chipotle paste
- 1 chopped fresh chilli more if you like it hotter
- 3 tbsp tomato puree/paste
- 4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. tomato ketchup/paste
- 4 x 400ml tins chopped tomatoes
- 20 g (about 4 chunks) dark chocolate
- 2 x 400g cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 x 420g can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
- 50 g butter salted or unsalted
- 2 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
- 250 ml whole full fat milk
- pinch of salt and pepper
- pinch of nutmeg optional
- 150 g strong cheddar cheese, grated
- 5-6 dried lasagne sheets
- Fresh coriander chopped
- Soured cream
- Fresh chillies sliced thinly
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Make the Chili Con Carne first:. Heat up the oil in a large, high-sided pan. Add the onions and cook on medium/high for about 10 minutes until they're soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add in the mince and cook until just brown. Break any large pieces up with a wooden spoon. Add in the red peppers and cook for another minute.
- Add in the red wine, bring it to the bubble and simmer for 3 minutes.
- In a cup, mix the stock cubes and honey with the boiling water. Pour it into the pan and give it a stir.
- Add in the ground coriander, mixed herbs, smoked paprika, cumin, ginger, chilli powder, chipotle paste, fresh chilli, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and tomato ketchup. Give it all a mix and cook for a 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add in the tinned tomatoes and bring to a simmer, stirring a couple of times. Add the chocolate and stir in until the chocolate has melted.
- Leave to simmer gently, half covered for 1 hour. Give it a stir every so often.
- After an hour, add in your kidney beans and mixed beans. Give them a stir and allow the chilli to simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Your Chilli-con-carne will be ready at this point. So you can take out half, cool and cover it. Then refrigerate or freeze it for another day. The portion that you put away should serve 4 people.
- Now you can start to make your lasagne. Preheat the oven to 200c/400f.
- Start by making the béchamel sauce - In a medium sized sauce pan, add the butter and melt over a medium heat. Once melted and bubbling slightly, add in the flour and whisk it into the butter. This is called a roux. It's important to use a whisk to help prevent lumps in your sauce. Keep gently whisking the roux over the heat for 1 or two minutes. Add in a good splash of milk, turn up the heat and whisk to incorporate. Then keep adding in the milk a good splash at a time, and whisking until all the milk is used up (this normally takes me about 3 or 4 minutes and I add the milk in about 5 splashes). Don't worry if you get a few lumps, keep whisking and they will disappear as the sauce thickens. Keep stirring the sauce with the whisk over the heat until your sauce thickens. Once thickened, add in the salt & pepper, the nutmeg and the half of the cheddar cheese. Stir together and then turn off the heat.
- Now it's time to construct your lasagne. I use 4 individual lasagne dishes, but you can use one larger family sized one (approx. 23cmx18cm) instead. Divide a third of your chilli between the lasagne dishes and flatten it so it covers the base. Then add a layer of lasagne sheet(s). I break my sheets up to make them fit the dish. Next spread a third of your béchamel onto top. Now add another third of the chilli, and place a layer of lasagne sheets on top. Spread on another third of the béchamel , then the remaining chilli, followed by the remaining béchamel. So you have two layers of lasagne and three layers of chilli/béchamel altogether. The lasagne should just reach the top of the dish (you may have a little of the sauce leftover - depending on the size of your dishes.
- Sprinkle on the remaining cheddar and place in the oven. bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is golden and the lasagne is bubbling slightly at the edges. Take out of the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve with coriander, soured cream, chopped fresh chillies and thinly sliced red onion.