This is THE BEST recipe for green bean casserole, which here has been adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. I feel like I have to be boastful and say that I developed a very similar recipe ALL BY MYSELF before I ever saw that the good Test Kitchen had made one. It’s a bit better for you than the canned “cream-of” version of this American classic, if, to you, “healthy” means actual cream and not “cream-of-something.” You can probably swap half-and-half or even whole milk for some or part of the cream IF you must, but don’t whine if your casserole is not all you hoped it would be. With cream, it will definitely be All That You Hope For in a green bean casserole. Also, note that my version (though not Cook’s Illustrated’s) omits the canned fried onions, because as much as I secretly love the taste, I freak out when an ingredient list mentions TBHQ and BHT and FRTHRP. (I made that last one up, but you know what I’m talking about, right?) If you can’t live without the canned fried onions, skip the first three ingredients and the first step. I won’t judge you. Okay, maybe I will judge you just a little, but if you can’t live without canned fried onions, my judgment shouldn’t mean anything to you, right?
Here you go:
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 cups onions, chopped fine, tossed with 1/4 cup flour, and fried in grapeseed oil until crispy
2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed (or use 2lb frozen French green beans from Trader Joe’s)
3 tablespoons butter
1 lb white button mushrooms, cleaned and broken by hand into small pieces
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1. Toss fried onions with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; set aside.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Fill large bowl with ice water. Bring 1 gallon of water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add two TB salt and the trimmed green beans. Cook beans until bright green, about 6 minutes. Drain in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking.
4. Add butter to now-empty Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/8 teaspoons pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3 quart (or 13 x 9″) baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and bake until top is golden brown ans sauce is bubbling around edges, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
6. To prepare ahead: Store breadcrumb topping in an airtight container in the refrigerator and combine with the onion just before cooking. Combine the beans and cooled sauce in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, remove plastic wrap and heat casserole in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake as directed.
This recipe can be halved and baked in a 2 quart (or 8″ square) baking dish. Reduce cooking time of the sauce in Step 3 to about 6 minutes and the baking time in Step 4 to 10 minutes.
See my post from last Thanksgiving
with links to other favorite from-scratch, updated recipes of favorite American Thanksgiving foods! As for us, we plan to be feasting with new friends here in Malawi. Will there be green bean casserole? I’m not sure. But I’ll sure try!