Mushroom and Rice Casserole

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Mushroom and Rice Casserole

Mushroom and Rice Casserole

Cazuela de Arroz con Hongos
8 servings
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: arroz, Casserole, Cazuela, cheese, cheesy, Hongos, Mushroom, queso, rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Although I don’t have the wild varieties of mushrooms that crop up in Mexico’s rainy season, I have experimented with an accessible mix of mushroom textures and flavors, fresh herbs, epazote, cilantro, parsley, that salty crema and tangy cheese. This stew goes on top of the rice with a topping of grated dry and aged cheese. As the casserole bakes, the rice absorbs the flavored cream, the mushrooms meld with the sauce and the cheese morphs into a perfectly browned crust.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, finely chopped (seeding optional if you want less heat; may add more to taste)
  • 2 pounds mixed mushrooms, (such as white button, baby bella, portobello and shitake), cleaned, dry part of stem removed, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, leaves and thin part of stems
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, leaves and thin part of stems
  • 1 cup Mexican cream, or Latin-style cream, or heavy cream
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) farmers cheese or queso fresco, crumbled
  • 6 cups cooked white or brown rice
  • 1 cup freshly grated queso anejo, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Romano

To Prepare

  • Heat the butter and oil in a large, deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat; cook for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are translucent and the edges begin to brown. Add the garlic and jalapeño or serrano pepper; cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add all of the sliced mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper, and gently combine with the onions. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mushrooms have exuded their juices and the flavors have melded. Uncover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until the juices have evaporated.
  • Add the cilantro and parsley, stirring to combine. Add the cream and the crumbled queso fresco or farmer cheese; stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined and the cheese has melted. Continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat to keep the mixture barely bubbling at the edges. It should still be very saucy. Turn off the heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Use a little butter to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or the equivalent.
  • Spoon the cooked rice into the baking dish and level it out without pressing down hard. Pour the mushroom-cilantro mixture on top and gently spread to level it. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and gently browned.
  • Serve hot.

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