Mushroom Casserole

"Cold" is a relative term here in the deep south. When the high temperature drops below 75°, jackets, hats, and scarves slowly emerge out of winter storage and onto the streets. I'm not one to judge though,  I'll bust out a scarf at any given opportunity. That, and I'm pretty sure I've adjusted to the weather here...to the point that my fingers start to turn blue at 55°-60° (I still act like I'm "cold-weather tough" though). Anyway, the temperatures have started to drop, and Thanksgiving is upon us, which can only mean one thing: casserole season.
Mushrooms in a dimly lit kitchen + high ISO, delicious!
Few things are more comforting than a well made casserole. I'm pretty particular about my casseroles, I'm not big on taking too many short cuts, I prefer it to be as "from scratch" as possible (granted, that's easier because I don't have kids), and Heidi's recipes over at 101cookbooks usually come through. My main complaint about her recipes is that she (unfortunately) frequently uses ingredients that are hard to come by in Mobile. She has so many recipes that I would LOVE to try, I've just had a difficult time finding all of the ingredients, but I adapt where I can. However, this is one recipe that simple, delicious and easily customizable. You can add nuts (especially roasted pine nuts, which I want to try next time), greens, or even chicken. It takes a bit of time, so you will need to set a good two hours aside (unless you have brown rice already cooked), but it's definitely worth it.
so good!
Mushroom Casserole adapted from 101cookbooks
1/2 pound (8 ounces) brown mushrooms (I used baby Portabellas), cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, well chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 large eggs
1 cup Ricotta cheese (the original recipe calls for cottage cheese, which I was out of, so I used Ricotta. I think I liked the Ricotta better, it was creamier)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a bit of fresh tarragon, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a medium-large baking dish (smaller than 9x13) with a bit of olive oil and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute the mushrooms in a spoonful of coconut oil (better than olive oil for medium-high heat cooking) sprinkled with a couple pinches of salt. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute and remove from heat. Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, Ricotta cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper.

Combine the rice mixture and cheese mixture in a large bowl, stir until well combined and then turn out into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle with the chopped tarragon and the remaining Parmesan.

Serves about 8.

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