French Onion and Mushroom Casserole

We really, really liked this delicious side dish from   "Better Homes and Gardens Tasty Timesaving Cooking”.  I wouldn’t hesitate to double it and set it out on a buffet. 
A couple of things – how much is a medium onion?  Try about 4 ½ ounces peeled or 5 ½ ounces unpeeled.  Ours was a little too juicy the first time, I reduced the water a little and had a less soupy dish the second time.  I had a culinary professor who used to say that your pieces of food in a casserole should be large enough to know what you're eating – that’s why you just halve your mushrooms.
I had Fontina cheese on hand, so we enjoyed it – it was so flavorful, we didn’t even need the Parmesan.  Remember, don’t use “cooking” sherry; buy a $5-10 bottle in the liquor section.
If you have a shallow casserole the right size, it’s a good choice, so you can put on plenty of croutons and cheese.  We have also found individual casseroles, shown here, are an easy way to serve this.  We like it with chops, steaks or chicken, with a green vegetable or salad.
                   French Onion and Mushroom Casserole
  8        Ounces  Fresh Mushrooms -- whole, halved
  2        Medium  Onion -- sliced and separated into rings
  3        Tablespoons  Butter
  2        Tablespoons  Flour, All-purpose
            Dash  Pepper -- freshly ground
  1        Cup  Hot Water -- (I like 3/4 cup)
     ¼     Cup  Dry Sherry
  1         Teaspoon  Beef Base -- or bouillon granules
     ¾     Cup  Croutons
     ¼     Cup  Swiss Cheese -- shredded (1 ounce)
             Parmesan Cheese -- grated
In a large saucepan, cook mushrooms and onions in butter about 5 minutes or till tender.  Pour sherry over and let evaporate a little.  Stir in flour and pepper.  Add water and beef base.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Transfer to a 1 quart casserole.
Bake, covered, in a 350° oven till heated through, 20-30 minutes.  Top with croutons and the shredded cheese.  Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese.  (I put it back in the oven a few minutes uncovered.)
*May be refrigerated just before baking for 3-24 hours.  Then, bake, covered, 40 minutes.
4 Servings
Per Serving : 192 Calories; 11g Fat (56.1% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 30mg Cholesterol; 153mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 2 Fat.

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