Pork and Shiitake Lasagna



I couldn’t help myself. I just *had* to experiment with a second lasagna dish for the foodie group’s lasagna competition. Something with an Asian slant.


Fresh Pork belly, 800 grams (approx 1.8 lbs)
Green Tea leaves, 2 tablespoons
Fresh Garlic, two medium cloves
Fresh Shiitake mushrooms, 8 large
Pine nuts, 1/4 cup
Korean chili paste, 1/4 teaspoon
Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon
Chinese spice mix

homemade white sauce (1&1/2 cups to 2 cups worth)
Gyoza wrappers

I made two cups of white sauce using 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1 cup milk per cup of sauce. After it thickened, I stirred in a teaspoon of Chinese seasoning mix (main ingredients are pork extract, chicken extract, vegetable extract, oyster sauce, black pepper, and garlic).


To prep the pork, I put it in a pot with the tea leaves and enough water to barely cover the pork. I brought it to boil and simmered it for about 15 minutes. Then I turned off the fire, and let it sit for half an hour till it was cooked through. Then I removed the pork belly,removed some of the fat layer, and chopped the meat into bite-sized pieces. These pieces I cooked in a tiny bit of oil, over medium heat, in a wok, along with the garlic, to remove some more of the fat. After draining off the fat, I added 1/2 teaspoon of Chinese seasoning mix. Then I took it off the fire and stirred in a little of the white sauce to give it cohesion.





To prep the shiitake mushrooms, I removed the hard tip of the mushroom stem and diced the rest of the stem and the caps. I stir-fried this, along with the pine nuts, in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. I added the chili paste and lemon juice to the mix and stir-fried it some more. I stirred in a little of the white sauce to give it cohesion.





To put the “lasagna” together, I laid out my prepped ingredients and a lightly oiled pyrex loaf pan. My loaf pan is small, holding about half the volume of what is used in most American homes. I was concerned that I didn’t have a utensil that could lift out the sliced lasagna when it was cooked, so I lined my loaf pan with parchment paper with the edges sticking out of the two long sides, so that I could lift the lasagna out after it had settled.

I spread some white sauce on the bottom of the loaf pan. Then laid an overlapping layer of gyoza wrappers over that (it took four wrappers per layer). Laid 1/2 of the shiitake & pine nut mixture over that. Laid another layer of gyoza wrappers over that. Laid 1/2 of the pork mixture over that. Drizzled that layer with a little white sauce. Laid another layer of gyoza wrappers, remainder of shiitake & pine nuts, another layer of gyoza wrappers, remainder of pork. Topped the final layer with remaining white sauce, and sprinkled it all with 1&1/2 tablespoons of grated parmesan. The finished product had a total of four layers.






I baked the “lasagna” in a 180 C (350 F) degree oven for 50 minutes, covering it with a tent of foil during the last ten minutes, when the top looked like it might get burnt. I took it out of the oven and let the ingredients settle and cool, before lifting it out by the edges of the parchment paper and slicing it to serve.




This was very very good. It had a full, complex flavor. The spiciness was just right for me. My husband thought it was too much, but if you like spicy food, you can increase the amount of chili paste.


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