This recipe is excerpted from my e-book “I Can’t Even With Pumpkin Spice: 21 Recipes Celebrating the Real Flavors of Fall.” Order it here!
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. I know, I know, but we’re making green been casserole from scratch, remember? 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.
Use fresh green beans. The extra step (blanching) is worth it! Your beans will have more flavor and WAY less sodium than canned green beans.
Ditto for making the sauce from scratch. Your homemade version will have less sodium and MORE flavor.
1 1/2 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)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1 cup half and half
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 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 1/4 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.
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