Without a doubt my absolute favorite side dish for holiday meals. I would trade you my turkey AND dressing for these Baked Mushrooms in a Parmesan Cream Sauce.
My goal when I decided to start a food blog was to keep the recipes for everything I’ve made over the years in one handy and reasonably secure environment. It would mean transferring recipes from an old yellow binder, a shopping bag full of clippings and a multitude of cookbooks and magazines with dog-eared pages marking the dishes I had loved.
Twenty years later I still don’t have my archives all here and it may be an impossible task to presume I ever will. But some things are a must and these Baked Mushrooms in a Parmesan Cream Sauce are so high up on the list that while on the blog; they were buried so deeply in the archives that they never saw the light of day and that was wrong. So wrong.
Every time I prepare this dish I am reminded that separately the components are really nothing to write home about. Plain old button mushrooms. Some butter (excuse me…a LOT of butter!), half and half, stock, Panko, and Parmesan cheese. Not that they don’t sound like they might be good; those ingredients piqued my interest after all when I happened across the recipe in a very old cookbook from my hometown of St. Louis. Still, nothing in that list can prepare you for how amazing this dish is once all of those ingredients are mixed together, baked and offered as either an appetizer or a side dish for a favorite event or meal. I’ve changed very little about that original work of art from the St. Louis Art Museum Cookbook circa the 1970’s but what I have changed is worth noting.
I mentioned last month that I’m working as a Brand Ambassador with Swanson®. I’ve been fortunate to have been provided with a literal cupboard full of broth and stock products to use in this adventure so not only do I have more choices but for the time being its ‘bye, bye, bye’ Costco. As much as I love knowing I can buy a case of chicken broth to always have on hand, I love even more the diversity of the products I’ve received. I knew when we were discussing the potential of our relationship that the one thing I would have to share with my readers on this blog would be my recipe for these mushrooms and one of the critical ingredients is a stock; be it beef, chicken or vegetable.
Since I’ve used both the words stock and broth in this paragraph, maybe I should clarify those too. The basic difference between a stock and a broth is that stock is a rich and savory base with a singular flavor profile and limited added seasonings, while broth is a lighter, seasoned base with a balanced flavor profile. A stock is just waiting to be transformed into a soup or sauce by the cook so for this recipe I used Swanson® Vegetable Stock; it was flavor I was after but the dish didn’t need extra salt or seasonings as a component.
When I first started serving these mushrooms, they were an appetizer course. Somehow over the years it segued from appetizer to simply being a part of the meal and we served it every year for many, many years as a side dish on Thanksgiving. I honestly think if no one was looking I could just squirrel myself away somewhere with this dish of mushrooms and happily forgo turkey and other fixins’ – yes I love it that much!
While I can be set in my ways when it comes to a lot of things, when I’m cooking it’s when I’m most open to change and for this dish the changes were good. Maybe first and foremost we’ve moved it from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Ever since my daughter and I made the eponymous Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole from scratch for Thanksgiving one year, I thought a change of venue was in order for one of our mushroom dishes and relegated our beloved Baked Mushrooms to the Christmas table.
Regular old bread crumbs were replaced with the larger and crunchier Panko crumbs and in an effort to insure that everyone can join me in eating my favorite side dish, I’ve gone the route of substituting the chicken stock in the ingredient list with Swanson® Vegetable Stock. Considering that the stock is combined with half and half and sherry in the making of the sauce, I barely noticed but I know several of my guests were pleased that they could enjoy this favorite with me. Now; if I had been really smart, I would have used Swanson® Chicken Stock and there would have been more for me!!! Just kidding. A little.
Mushrooms cooked just enough to be tender but not mushy; that amazing cream sauce smothered over them and then to finish they are topped with a crunchy Parmesan and Panko mixture? So perfect. Promise me…forget the turkey or the prime rib (OK, maybe not the prime rib) but try these…I think they are simply irresistible!
Baked Mushrooms in a Parmesan Cream Sauce
- 1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
- 1/2 c. butter
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1/2 c. half and half
- 1/4 c. Swanson® Beef, Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 1/4 cup sherry or white wine
- Dash of freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs (yes, you can use regular crumbs but these offer a better crunch)
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter shallow baking dish.
- Arrange mushrooms in dish stemmed side down.
- Melt 1/2 cup butter in small saucepan over low heat. Increase heat to medium-high, blend in flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Combine half and half, stock, sherry and pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and pour sauce evenly over mushrooms.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until mushrooms look tender.
- Sprinkle with bread/cheese mixture and continue baking until cheese melts, approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley for garnish.
- Serve hot.
This post is sponsored by Swanson® however all commentary is my own.