Tuesday, April 16, 2013

caramelized onion and mushroom casserole

I can't believe I'm sharing another casserole recipe with you, again. I won't blame you if you're bored of them but I need to be honest here this one is the best. If you like casseroles, or caramelized onions, or anything you just have to make this. The idea for this one germinated when I first made a casserole containing mushrooms and caramelized onions. What if I just used more? Wouldn't that be utterly delicious? Well yes, and this is the result.

I've got to be honest, though. This is not a throw it together in fifteen minutes casserole. I spent an hour just on the onions. You might want a kitchen helper. But oh my god was this worth it. This whole idea was based around the household love of onions, and my belief that they are always better caramelized and always better with mushrooms. I wanted the onions to shine in this casserole, which is why I left out all other vegetables. I also wanted it to be a little more hearty, which is where the ground chicken came in.

If you wanted to make a vegetarian version you could easily leave out the chicken, use margarine and vegetable broth. Honestly though? I wouldn't change a thing

The secret to this recipe might have been the onions, or it might have been the kick of cayenne. I'm not quite sure. What I do know is that we fought over the leftovers.

Caramelized Onion and Cremini Casserole

For the Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried time
  • 1 - 2 tsp cayenne pepper (base this measurement on your family's spice preference, we used 2 teaspoons and it was perfect)
For the filling:
  • 1/2 package of dried fusilli or rotini (the curves here pick up the onion bits and sauce perfectly)
  • 12 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • olive oil
    • 1 tbsp for the chicken
    • about 2 tbsp for the onions
  • 1 pat of butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F.
  2. In a skillet or pot with a large bottom (I used a dutch oven here) bring 2 tbsp olive oil to medium low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions to the pan. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and stir. You'll want to cook these all the way to caramelized and with so many onions it will take a long time.
    • Note: Stir these regularly, but feel free to multi-task here. Especially for the first twenty minutes while the onions go from translucent to browned you can take your eye off them for a few minutes at a time.
  3. In a medium skillet, bring 1 tbsp olive oil to medium heat. Add the ground chicken to the skillet and cook, stirring regularly, until browned. Once cooked through, transfer to a medium large bowl and set aside for now.
  4. Check in on your onions. Keep cooking. They'll probably be translucent and not quite browned, but keep an eye on them.
  5. Begin making your sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat melt your butter and add the flour to make your roux. Wisk to integrate, and allow to cook about five minutes, stirring regularly, to get rid of the floury taste.
  6. Add the chicken broth to the roux in about 1/3 cup increments, making sure to wisk until completely integrated between each addition. Once all the broth is added, simmer over low heat until it just begins to bubble. At this point you can add the milk, as well as your seasonings (pepper, garlic, cayenne). Once again bring to a simmer to thicken slightly. At this point you can leave the sauce over low heat on a back burner.
  7. Check in on your onions. They'll probably be about browned now, with bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the colour of the onions is about medium brown (not quite at the caramelized point) add the mushrooms to the pan. Stir. The mushrooms and onions will cook through together from this point on. While the mushrooms begin to cook the onions will continue to caramelize and they'll get all lovely.
    • Continue cooking while making the pasta, stirring regularly. These should finish up completely soft and caramelized and delicious right about that time.
  8. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain.
  9. In a large casserole dish combine the pasta, caramelized onion mixture and ground chicken. Pour the sauce over top and mix until evenly coated.
  10. Pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  11. Put this in your mouth. Seriously.


  1. I love onions. A few hacks can totally speed things up though.




    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I will have to check that out.