Green bean casserole — you know the one with the canned green beans, cream of sodium soup and the French fried onions — is the stuff of old-school Thanksgiving legend. Here are a few tips (and a recipe) to help you make your own green bean casserole from scratch.
First, ditch the canned green beans. Fresh beans, trimmed and blanched, will keep their crisp-tender texture even after baking.
Make your own sauce instead of relying on a can of condensed soup. For a traditional casserole, sprinkle flour over sautéed mushrooms, then stir in half and half and chicken stock to create a rich, creamy sauce. My recipe replaces the mushrooms — my husband won’t eat them — with caramelized onions for a heartier casserole.
Crisp fried onions give green bean casserole a fantastic crunch, the perfect complement to the creamy filling. Thinly-sliced shallots flash-fried to a delicious crisp are the perfect alternative to the packaged fried onions. No time to fry shallots? No worries, top your casserole with a handful of toasted almonds instead.
- 1½ pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cups thinly-sliced onions (about 3 large onions)
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup thinly-sliced shallots
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish.
- Blanch green beans by carefully dropping them into a large pot of heavily-salted, rapidly-boiling water and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove beans from water and rinse under cold water or place in a large bowl of ice water to cool. Pat green beans dry and set aside.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once butter melts, add onions and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle onions with ¼ cup flour and stir until onions are evenly coated. Cook for about a minute then gradually stir in the half and half and chicken stock.
- Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, then reduce to a simmer until sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Add the green beans and stir until evenly coated with sauce. Season casserole to taste and pour into prepared baking dish.
- Bake until casserole is golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes.
- While casserole bakes, heat oil to 350 degrees in a small pot over medium heat. Toss shallots and 1 tablespoon flour together in a small bowl until shallots are evenly coated. Shake off excess flour and carefully add shallots to hot oil. Fry shallots until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove shallots from oil and set on paper towels to drain.
- Sprinkle fried shallots over casserole and serve.