Sunday, December 4, 2011

Green Bean Casserole, With Love

This post feels like it's a little late, but it's not really.  I made this green bean casserole for Thanksgiving, but let's be real.  T-Day is not the only day green bean casserole gets made or eaten.  It's totally apropos for a holiday potluck or Christmas dinner.  It's a make-ahead meal for the most part and so much better than slapping some canned green beans and cream of mushroom soup together.

On the reals.  Fried shallots with a crispy panko topping over creamy green beans and baby portobellos.  Not your average casserole.
Start it off with a pound-ish of green beans with the ends snapped off.
Get a big pot of salted water boiling and add the beans.  Let it go for about 3 minutes.
Drain the beans and quickly add them to a bowl of ice water.  This will stop the cooking process and give us green beans with a little snap to them.
Drain the beans once they've cooled off and set them aside.
These mushrooms will add an earthy, meaty flavor.  Trust, this is much tastier than using a can of soup or a can of mushrooms.
Saute the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil.  We want them to get awesome and brown.
 This is them getting awesome and brown.
Add a little chopped onion for some extra flavor.  Let the onions get soft and turn a little brown.  Season with salt and pepper.
Ohhh snap.  Move your mushrooms and onions to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter.  There's still little bits of mushroom and onion goodness in the pan, which we'll pick up when we make this cream sauce.
Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour in the pan and whisk it up for a minute or two.  We're cooking the raw flour flavor out.  See the little bits in the roux?  Yum!
Add heavy cream slowly and whisk it together.  Then add the milk.  Whole would be preferable, but I used 2% successfully.  I wouldn't go lower than that though or you run the risk of curdling.
When the sauce thickens so that it coats the back of a wooden spoon, add the mushrooms and onions back to the sauce.  Give it a stir and adjust seasonings to taste.
Transfer the green beans to a greased casserole dish.  Add the cream sauce and mushrooms and stir it around to coat all the green beans.  At this point, the casserole can be covered and refrigerated overnight.
To make the breadcrumb topping, grate about 1/4 c of Parmesan.  If you have a little more than 1/4 c, well, no one's gonna complain.
Mix the Parmesan with some panko breadcrumbs and melted butter.
Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the green beans and bake at 350º for about an hour or until golden brown on top.
Slice 3 shallots thinly and coat with a teaspoon of cornstarch.
Fry the shallots in about 1/2" of canola oil.  I did them in two batches so as not to crowd the pan.
Yum, yum, yum!  They're crispy and a lovely golden brown.  Sprinkle with salt while they're still hot.
When the casserole is bubbly and golden brown on top, take it out the oven and admire it for a minute.
Top it with the shallots and marvel at the glorious creation that came from your oven.  It's so completely worth it to take a little extra time and effort and make it all from scratch, and you have the satisfaction of knowing everything that goes in it.  No crazy preservatives here!  It was a big hit at our dinner even with all the other goodies we had.

Green Bean Casserole (serves 8-10)

1 lb green beans, ends snapped
1 tbs olive oil
8 oz baby portobellos, sliced
1/2 c diced onions
Salt and pepper
2 1/2 tbs butter
2 1/2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c cream
1 c milk
1 scant c panko breadcrumbs
1/4 c Parmesan
1 1/2 tbs butter, melted
3 shallots, sliced thinly
1 tsp cornstarch
Canola oil for frying

  • Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the green beans and let boil for 3 minutes.  Drain and put beans into a large bowl of ice water immediately.  When beans are cool, drain and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a medium saute pan with tall sides over medium heat.  Add portobellos and cook until brown, about 5 minutes.  Add onions and cook until soft, another 3-4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate to set aside.  In the same pan, melt the butter.  Sprinkle in the flour and whisk.  Cook 1-2 minutes and slowly add the cream, whisking the whole time.  Add the milk and let it thicken until it coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Add the mushrooms and onions back in the pan and stir.  Check seasonings and adjust as needed.
  • In a greased casserole dish, transfer the green beans and pour mushroom cream sauce over the top.  Stir to coat.  At this point the casserole can be refrigerated overnight if needed.
  • Heat oven to 350º.  Combine the panko, Parmesan, and melted butter in a bowl.  Sprinkle on top of the green bean casserole and bake about 1 hour or until golden brown on top.
  • While the casserole is in the oven, heat about 1/2" of canola oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat.  Toss the shallots with the cornstarch and fry until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
  • When casserole is golden brown, remove from oven and sprinkle the shallots on top.  Serve warm.


  1. This looks awesome, I may have to add this recipe to my Christmas meal list!

  2. Awesome! It was a big hit with my family.