I've got to be honest, though. This is not a throw it together in fifteen minutes casserole. I spent an hour just on the onions. You might want a kitchen helper. But oh my god was this worth it. This whole idea was based around the household love of onions, and my belief that they are always better caramelized and always better with mushrooms. I wanted the onions to shine in this casserole, which is why I left out all other vegetables. I also wanted it to be a little more hearty, which is where the ground chicken came in.
If you wanted to make a vegetarian version you could easily leave out the chicken, use margarine and vegetable broth. Honestly though? I wouldn't change a thing
The secret to this recipe might have been the onions, or it might have been the kick of cayenne. I'm not quite sure. What I do know is that we fought over the leftovers.
Caramelized Onion and Cremini Casserole
For the Sauce:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp dried time
- 1 - 2 tsp cayenne pepper (base this measurement on your family's spice preference, we used 2 teaspoons and it was perfect)
- 1/2 package of dried fusilli or rotini (the curves here pick up the onion bits and sauce perfectly)
- 12 medium yellow onions, sliced
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp for the chicken
- about 2 tbsp for the onions
- 1 pat of butter
- Preheat your oven to 350*F.
- In a skillet or pot with a large bottom (I used a dutch oven here) bring 2 tbsp olive oil to medium low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions to the pan. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and stir. You'll want to cook these all the way to caramelized and with so many onions it will take a long time.
- Note: Stir these regularly, but feel free to multi-task here. Especially for the first twenty minutes while the onions go from translucent to browned you can take your eye off them for a few minutes at a time.
- Continue cooking while making the pasta, stirring regularly. These should finish up completely soft and caramelized and delicious right about that time.