When I was asked recently to come up with an alternative to potatoes, this idea surfaced. My friend and fellow chef, Paul Golly, gave it to me, and I used the basic idea to create not only this excellent side dish but an entrée item as well. It’s simple, tasty, easy to prepare and has a good shelf life.
White Bean and Mushroom Gratin
2 cups diced sweet onion
2 teaspoons ground sage (you can use fresh if you wish, but we found the dried works much better)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
2 cups prepared great northern white beans drained (we used Randall brand)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups prepared chicken stock
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste
3/4 cup diced Fontina cheese (available at The Cheese Shop of Des Moines at the Shops of Roosevelt)
1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese (we used the mix from Hy-Vee)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sauté the onions in the olive oil and butter until soft but not browned. Add in the sage, mushrooms and garlic.
Cook until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 or 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the parsley, beans, Fontina, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, blend the chicken stock into the corn starch, add to the bean mixture stir to combined. Lightly grease a 2-inch deep casserole dish (we used a 10-inch round cake pan).
Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and smooth the surface. Mix the remaining cheeses with the bread crumbs and layer over the top. Bake at 350 until the liquid is bubbly, thickened and the cheese topping has browned, about 30 to 40 minutes. If you can resist the aroma, let your gratin cool for 20 minutes before serving.
We cut it into wedges and served as a side for rotisserie chicken with a sauté of’ fennel & green beans.
Chuck Fuller is the owner of Metro Specialty Products, a catering company aimed at medium- to high-end clients. He can be reached at email@example.com or 279-5922.