Contains: Dairy, nightshades. Is: Vegetarian, gluten-free.
A recipe from The City Tavern Cookbook: Recipes from the Birthplace of American Cuisine, by Walter Staib. This one is on page 218. Part of the CookingBites Cookbook Game, #6. Which is where we make a recipe exactly as written from a print cookbook that sits in our home. (Yes, you can dial down the size if you are cooking for one! Or for a few other, explained, reasons. I made a variant for four, while the original recipe served 8.)
Consider this a potential for your Thanksgiving feast. Yes, multiply as needed.
For instance, I never ever buy “vegetable oil”. I use avocado oil, or in a pinch, grapeseed oil for high temp cooking needs where I want the oil to bring no extra flavors to the pot. Frankly, I haven’t bought “vegetable oil” for thirty years. I did go through the canola stage, but that’s done, too.
I figure this semi-heritage recipe might go well with a Thanksgiving turkey. Or not. As always, it is up to you, but this is why I posted it now. It would work in any part of the planet, most times of the year, depending on your tastes and ingredient availability.
Most of the recipes in this cookbook are geared towards 8 people. I don’t mind making extra, but not eight-fold extra! I mean, maybe I won’t like it? I don’t see any reason why I would dislike this one, but I think by the time I got to serving number 5 or 6, I might be a tad tired of it… And my freezers are a tad full right now. I did simply halve this recipe because looking at the logistics for a quarter of a recipe, I worried about it cooking properly.
The recipe, plus notes:
Herein, the recipe’s author combines cookery ideas from both Mary Randolph (The Virginia Housewife, ) and Martha Washington’s related recipe (“To Dress a Dish of Mushrumps”). Yes, that Washington. She likely didn’t invent the recipe (OR cook it), but it would be served in her household.
Prep Time: 35-40 minutes.
Cook Time: Up to 40 minutes.
Rest Time: Scant.
Cuisine: Early American/Colonial concepts.
Leftovers: Yes. Fridge and re-heat (microwave or oven).
Potato, Mushroom & Onion Casserole
- 3.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided. (2 tablespoons + 1.5 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon avocado (or grapeseed) oil.
- 3 cups sliced button mushrooms (about 0.75 pounds)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 4 medium red-skinned potatoes (about 0.75 pounds), peeled and very thinly sliced.
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper (I had to use pre-ground, it is what I had.)
- 1.5 bunches fresh parsley finely chopped (about 1/2 cup) (I used home-grown, harvested that moment…)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. (I am sure that back in the day, they grated their own. And it was likely the real stuff… Make your own choice.)
(ED NOTE: The above recipe is designed to serve 8. I cut my own doings by half. The recipe has been re-written to reflect that!)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter and all the above oil to a large skilled already heated up t high heat. When melted, add the mushrooms, sautéing for about five minutes, or until the mushrooms go tender and just soft. Remove them from the skillet. Reserve.
Then, add the onions and garlic to the same skillet, and saute until the onions get lightly browned, using your spatula to flip and turn as needed. This took about 8 minutes. Add them to the mushroom reserves. (You can gently mix them, then.)
As you sliced those potatoes, layer them between paper towels on a separate plate. Pat dry.
Put half of these on the bottom of a baking dish (I used a 12×12 inch pan for this quantity). Sprinkle some salt and pepper around. Add parsley, then the mixed onion and mushroom mixture – and follow with the rest of the potato, layered nicely for cooking. Add more salt and pepper as desired.
Dot the top with bits of the rest of the 1.5 tablespoons butter.
Bake 15 minutes.
Take that cream, and try to pour as evenly as possible over the casserole. Top this with Parmesan cheese.
Return to oven. Check after 10 minutes to see if the potatoes are fork-tender. Return to oven, if not. Mine needed to go to about 15-17 minutes, but oven temps vary, and also how you slice your potatoes may certainly have an effect. But do serve hot!
An option: Broil the casserole for 2 minutes post cooking, to brown the surface. This isn’t necessary, and isn’t part of the original recipe, but it is something to consider. Watch to maintain a browning, not a burning.
I’m never sure how one measures a “bunch” of anything. I used my own home-grown parsley, and simply went by “feel” on it. Which I think is entirely appropriate.
While I think this was a good recipe, it does tend to confirm my Yukon gold bias. I think I’d love this recipe just a bit more were I to use just about any “gold” potato, although I’ll admit the red was fine. I would also not skin my potatoes, although I know there was a period in time where everyone apparently skinned any potato they cooked. Most of the nutrients are in the skin — and frankly, they really don’t taste bad, and they add texture. (Yes, I did use the red-skinned potatoes with skins removed. The chickens got a treat!)
I would also like to brown the top of the casserole, by putting my oven on “broil” for a couple of minutes at the end. Back in the day, this was likely not a real option.
Overall, I do appreciate this cookbook, and will cook more things from it in the future. I may even (hopefully) get to Philadelphia to try this recipe in person at the City Tavern, someday on a near date. Seriously — much more enticing than most bread-laden Philly cheesesteak notion!