Mushroom and Bacon CasseroleWritten by Lillian Tram on September 25th, 2015
Try this exceptional Mushroom & Bacon Casserole!
When you cook for family or friends, for special occasions, one of the most difficult decisions is what to cook to impress and to make everyone appreciate your cooking talents. Of course, there are various dishes to choose from, but you probably wish to come with something new and interesting, to touch their senses with the aromas of your dish.
Therefore, you first need to think about the main ingredients that you will use. For me, having mushrooms and bacon on hand is very important, as these are some of my favorite ingredients. I consider that either of these two ingredients allow me to diversify my meals and come with something new and delicious every time I wish to cook something delicious.
Now think about creating a dish which uses both mushrooms and bacon. Can you imagine the aromas and the taste of it? Well, the result is exceptional and you’ll sure love it! Anyway, I recommend doing this recipe when you have enough time to spend in your kitchen, as it requires over one hour of cooking.
Mushroom and Bacon Casserole Ingredients
4 cups unsalted beef stock
3 cups of water
8 center-cut chopped bacon slices
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
6 garlic minced cloves
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
8 ounces sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups uncooked pearl barley
1/3 cup Madeira wine
4 ounces Gruyère cheese – about 1 cup shredded and the rest divided
1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (about 10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
How to prepare Mushroom and Bacon Casserole:
First, you need to preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Using a large saucepan, bring stock and the 3 cups of water to a simmer, without boiling it. Make sure you keep mixture warm.
Using a Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-high heat, until it gets crispy.
Remove bacon from the cooking pan, set it aside and reserve one tablespoon drippings in the pan.
Put pan to medium-high heat and then add onion, garlic and thyme to the remaining drippings in pan. Sauté the composition for 3 minutes or until it gets tender. Add mushrooms and then add salt. Cook the composition for 10 minutes or until it gets a brown color. Stir it occasionally.
Add the barley and cook for 1 minute, stirring the composition frequently.
Add Madeira and cook for 1 minute or until the entire liquid is absorbed by the composition in the pan.
Reduce the heat from medium-high to medium.
Add 2 cups of broth mixture and stir. Cook for 4 minutes or until the liquid gets nearly absorbed. Frequently stir during cooking. Add the remaining broth mixture, one cup at a time and stir frequently, so that the composition absorbs each portion of broth mixture. This step will require about 30 minutes to complete, as you need to wait until each portion of broth is completely absorbed before you add the next one.
Add 2 ounces Gruyère, tomatoes, spinach, bacon, soy sauce and pepper and stir them together.
Coat a 2-quart ceramic or glass baking dish with cooking spray and place barley mixture in it. Sprinkle the composition with remaining cheese.
Coat aluminum foil with cooking spray and use it to cover the composition.
Bake the composition at 375 degree for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted. Let Mushroom and Bacon Casserole stand for 5 minutes before serving.