Monday, November 28, 2011

Green Bean Casserole Do-Over

A few Thanksgivings ago I made a simple (basically prefabricated) green bean casserole. This year, I took a little extra time to make one from scratch using fresh ingredients, and it paid off. I followed this Alton Brown recipe, replacing the chicken broth with veggie broth. To save a little time on the big day, I went ahead and cooked the beans a day ahead - then put them in the refrigerator in the dish I planned to use. 

Green Bean Casserole
Adapted from food network
  • 1 lb / 500 grams fresh green beans, trimmed and rinsed
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
Bring water and salt to a boil. If you're using table salt, you'll want to use less than this! (oops.) Cook beans to your preference (Alton blanches for 5 minutes, I boil for 8-10), drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. 

Onion Topping
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or about 1/2 t. table salt)
  • Nonstick spray
Preheat oven to 475F / 245C. Combine onions, flour, breadcrumbs and salt (may want to use seasoning salt) and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick spray and evenly spread onions on pan. I sprayed a light layer of oil on top of the onions also. Bake until golden brown, tossing every 10 minutes, for about 30 minutes. 

Mushroom Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 12 ounces / 350 grams mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or less table salt!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup half and half (or combination of half milk, half cream)
Saute mushrooms in butter with salt and pepper until they begin to lose some liquid, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and nutmeg and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and simmer for 1 minute. Add half and half and cook until mixture thickens - 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the beans. Pour into casserole dish (I used a deep round one - I thought 9x13 would be too big), top with remaining onions and bake at 400F / 200C until bubbly, about 15 minutes. 

Many commenters had issues with the onions burning, but I didn't have any problems. Just keep an eye on them in that hot oven and flip them whenever they're looking browned on bottom. I think this version is better than the one I grew up with and I'll never have to open a can of congealed cream of mushroom soup again...woohoo!

Last year I made a cherry chutney that a lot of people liked, but I hated it after pitting all those cherries and cooking them in vinegar for an hour. Ugh, the smell of warm vinegar! For those of you who enjoyed it, here's the recipe.