This recipe was provided by Mrs. Zeniada Gladkikh of Taganrok, Russia. Thanks to my friend Vasya for getting it from his mom and translating it. I've twiddled with the amounts and a couple of ingredients to take into account the difference in ingredient availability between Santa Monica and Taganrok ...

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter, then add the flour. Cook the roux over low heat until the roux is blond, about 5 minutes. Bring the sour cream to a boil, then reduce heat and add roux. Blend thoroughly until the sauce is at a nice, smooth, creamy consistency, adding some milk a tablespoon at a time if necessary to thin it. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice the mushrooms. In an oven-safe saute pan or cast-iron skillet, melt 2 more tablespoons of the butter, add the minced onion and sauté until translucent. Add the mushrooms, and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft. Add the sour cream sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add cheese and dot with the remaining melted butter. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Garnish with fennel leaves and serve.

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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)