Peter Frank Edwards

Wild Rice Casserole with Mushrooms

From Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House; Atlanta, Georgia

A family’s history inevitably shows up on the table, and for Hopkins, Thanksgiving calls to mind his mother’s French Huguenot heritage. “We always had goose and prunes stuffed with foie gras,” he says. But his favorite family side dish has a decidedly more American bent. “Since my mother was a fan of Julia Child’s, this dish has the earmarks of that ‘French-American’ style, including canned cream of mushroom soup,” he says. While some chefs might hesitate to admit it, Hopkins has fond memories of the “gourmet” ingredient: “It’s my mother’s generational shortcut, an instant version of béchamel.” And the resulting rice-and-mushroom dish is one of those deceptively simple recipes with an irresistibly complex taste. “Every year when the table is cleared, my father and I follow that casserole into the kitchen, eating out of the dish until the rice is gone,” Hopkins says. “Make it once and you’ll know what I mean.”

1 cup wild rice, 
cooked according to 
package directions
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. minced onion
2 tbsp. minced 
green pepper
8 oz. white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 can condensed cream 
of mushroom soup
1 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. dried tarragon
½ tsp. curry powder
Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
In a heavy-bottomed ovenproof pot over moderate heat, melt butter until foamy and sauté onion, pepper, and mushrooms until softened and aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in soup, cream, and spices. Add cooked rice, stirring to combine, and transfer to preheated oven. Bake until soup and cream are absorbed and the rice thickens, about 40 to 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

“My adult world
 is only five or six stoplights away from where I grew up, so it’s no wonder that I believe in cooking that has a sense 
of place”—Linton Hopkins

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