French Onion Mushroom Casserole is essentially the best bowl of French Onion Soup you've ever had, only in casserole form. The perfectly toasted French bread, the melting Swiss cheese, the caramelized onions, and all of the hearty, warm flavors of beef, garlic and mushrooms -- they're all what make this one of the best comfort foods ever!
Creative and comforting food for casual entertaining.
That's what I do -- here on my blog, and in my kitchen. I love cooking for others, but the "entertaining" part could be switched out for "eating," if your prefer. 😉
This is one of the best mushroom casserole recipes I've ever had, and so much is about the cooking process.
While I always loved cooking, it wasn't until I studied it in Culinary school, that the process became more important to me.
Creating the best comfort foods is more than just putting ingredients together -- it's all about how they're put together.
This French Onion Mushroom Casserole recipe is the perfect example of this.
Learning how and when to add certain ingredients to a pan, what to finish with and why -- it all fascinated me. And I learned patience is imperative.
You'll need patience for this French Onion Mushroom Casserole recipe, and I promise you, it'll be worth every second!
- Do not deglaze the pan until you've properly browned the ingredients.
Ingredients are properly browned when they're golden, and bits of food are stuck of the bottom of the pan. Deglazing is when you add a liquid to a very hot pan where you've browned food -- the liquid and the heat loosen anything stuck to the pan, and it works its way back into the mix, adding an enormous amount of flavor with it.
(In this recipe, it's the pearl onions and mushrooms we're browning, and the deglazing liquids are beef broth and red wine. )
- Wait several seconds after adding herbs, before moving on with the dish.
In this casserole, we want the flavor of the thyme to release before "burying" it with the next ingredients we add.
- Give the sauce time to thicken properly.
Wait for a sauce to bubble after adding a thickener -- this is how you will know what consistency you've reached, whether or not you might need more thickener. - Layer casserole ingredients carefully.
The order in which foods are layered can make a difference in how each bite feels in your mouth.
- Don't pull things from the oven too quickly -- it's not about time, it about the aroma, appearance and texture.Sure, a quick and easy dinner is essential on some nights, but when time allows, I could spend all day in the process.
The entire process begins with an idea, of course. In this case, the idea for this onion mushroom casserole was born when Melissa's Produce delivered a huge bundle of gorgeous multi-colored pearl onions to my door.
Both the pearl onions and the mushrooms are the stars of this dish.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- Here's a guide for How to Easily Peel Pearl Onions. This will help you save a lot of time.
- While I love doing things from scratch, you can purchase already peeled pearl onions. These are typically found in the freezer section of the market. Be sure they're completely thawed before using them.
- Vegetarian? If you'd like to make this dish vegetarian, use a very hearty vegetable broth instead of the beef broth.
- If the bread on top gets nice and toasted before the cooking time is up, lightly cover the pan with foil until it's done.
Can you make French Onion Mushroom Casserole ahead?
- You can prepare all of the ingredients the day before you want to serve this casserole, including cooking the onion mixture.
- Assemble and bake up to 4 hours and at least 45 minutes before you're ready to serve. If you bake it earlier than 45 minutes ahead, do not refrigerate it before warming it in the oven just before serving. (Warm it in a 375°F oven just to heat it through, about 10 minutes.)
I absolutely love this French Onion Mushroom Casserole Recipe and I think you'll agree that it's one of the best comfort foods of all time.
More comforting casserole recipes:
- Hatch Chile Cornbread Casserole
- Smoky Spanish Smashed Potato Casserole
- Gruyère-Spinach Potatoes Au Gratin
This is not a sponsored post. Melissa's sent me the pearl onions for recipe testing. As always, all opinions are my own and I only write about things I truly love.
French Onion Mushroom Casserole Recipe
- olive oil for the pan
- 1¾ pounds pearl onions (click here for How to Peel Pearl Onions)
- 8 ounces Crimini mushrooms, washed and dried, thinly sliced
- 1½ tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
- 2 cups beef broth
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 (approximately 2 foot) skinny French baguette
- 1½ tablespoons garlic, minced, divided
- 1½ cups Swiss cheese, grated, divided
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Set the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F, and adjust a rack to the top third.
- Peel and cook the onions. Peel the onions (here's how). Then coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Add the peeled onions and sauté them, stirring periodically, until they're nicely caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and thyme to the onions and cook. Add a bit more oil to the pan, and add the mushrooms. Again, stirring periodically, sauté until they're nicely caramelized, about 10 minutes. Mix in the thyme and cook until it's very aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Deglaze the pan. Turn the heat to low and pour in the beef broth and wine to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spatula (if you have one -- otherwise a spoon), to gently scrape any bits of stuck onion and/or mushroom from the bottom of the pan, and incorporate it into the liquid. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low again and simmer.
- Make a roux and add it to the onion mixture. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a small sauté pan and melt it. With the heat on low, whisk in the flour. (This is a roux and will thicken the sauce.) Using a whisk, mix the roux into the onion mixture. Again, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let this simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
- Prepare slices of the bread for the bottom of the casserole. While the sauce is simmering, cut about about ¾ of the baguette into thin slices, diagonally -- about ½ inch thick. Place the slices on a baking sheet and set aside. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the garlic and spread each slice of bread with it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place the baking sheet in the preheated 375°F oven until the edges are golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the now toasted slices to the bottom of an (approximately) 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Set aside, and leave the oven on.
- Prepare cubes of the bread for the top of the casserole. Cut the remaining ¼ of the baguette into small cubes and add them to the same baking sheet you used for the slices. Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter with the remaining ½ tablespoon of garlic and melt it in the microwave, or a tiny sauté pan. Drizzle this over the cubed bread on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently with your hands to be sure it's well mixed. (Be careful as the baking sheet might still be hot!) Place this in the oven (still at 375°F), until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.
- Assemble. Sprinkle ½ cup of the cheese evenly over the toasted slices of bread in the baking dish. Pour the onion sauce evenly on top and then evenly distribute the cubed, toasted bread on top of that. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
- Bake. Bake in the (still) preheated 375°F oven until it's bubbling along the edges, about 20 minutes.
- Cool and serve. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then serve.
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