Vegetarian Baeckoffe

Translated from the Germanic Alsatian dialect, baeckeoffe means “baker’s oven,” as it was traditionally a dish that was brought to the local baker to cook in his oven. Classic versions are loaded with meat, but our vegetarian riff is equally hearty and rich.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound sliced mushroom caps
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large thyme sprig
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups vertically sliced onion (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 (8-ounce) Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 (6-ounce) turnip, peeled and cut into (1/8-inch-thick) slices
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.  Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to pan, and sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add wine; cook 2 minutes. Add parsley, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 6 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat; discard thyme. Add cream cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Remove mushroom mixture from pan. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.  Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for 15 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Set aside.  Coat a 6-cup baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange potato slices in dish, and top with spinach. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper evenly over spinach. Spoon the mushroom mixture over black pepper, and arrange turnip slices over mushroom mixture. Top with caramelized onions; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and tarragon. Pour whipping cream over tarragon, and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cheese begins to brown.

Yield:  4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

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