Mushroom Medley au Gratin

All of the flavor of this Thanksgiving side dish comes from the natural earthiness of the mushroom blend, with just a touch of additional flavor from the white wine in the mustard, the fresh thyme, and the nutty Parmesan cheese. It makes for a pretty light, gently-seasoned version of this dish; there’s nary a can of condensed soup in sight.

You can use any blend of mushrooms you like. Often, you can find a packaged assortment of “exotic” mushrooms at the supermarket; ours contained pre-rinsed baby portobellos, shitakes, and oyster mushrooms. Sometimes, you can even find them pre-sliced, which may cost a tiny bit more, but it’s money well spent at the holidays, where every minute you save slicing mushrooms is another minute you have to pad around the house in sheepskin slippers drinking scotch spend with family. All that really matters is that you end up with about 12 ounces of exotic mushrooms, and another pound of plain ol’ white buttons. Don’t panic when you see what a pile of mushrooms you end up with…they’ll cook down dramatically.

Mushroom Medley au Gratin
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 12 ounces fresh shitake, oyster, and/or portobello mushrooms, sliced (see note)
  • 1 pound fresh white button (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, snipped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, stir together Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and the two tablespoons melted butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons butter. Add garlic and button mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat until mushrooms are tender and liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Remove mushrooms from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving drippings in the skillet.
  3. Add exotic mushroom mixture to the skillet. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the flour, mustard, thyme, and salt. When flour browns, add milk and stir until mixture thickens and bubbles. Stir in button mushroom mixture.
  4. Transfer mushroom mixture to a 1-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

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