What? You didn’t think I was serious about getting my holiday on? That’s hilarious. I love the whole holiday season. The smells, lights, music, shiny pretty things…it’s all pretty much designed to inject happy straight into my veins. But you know what I’ve never really been into? Green bean casserole. It’s one of those quintessential Thanksgiving dishes, but something about the mixture of tinned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup and that weird container of shelf-stable onions straws just creeps me out.
However, I know that many of my friends love green bean casserole, so I decided to see if I could come up with a version made from scratch that would get rid of my casserole heebie-jeebies. I started contemplating how to reinterpret the cream of mushroom soup, since that is the characteristic flavor folks associate with the dish. I decided to cook down some mushrooms with butter, thyme and sherry to create a flavor base and then folded them into a bechamel sauce to get that nice creaminess. Fresh green beans were a given, but I undercooked them just a tad so that they could finish cooking in the sauce rather than getting mushy. And lastly, the crowning glory of the green bean casserole – the fried onion straws. As it turns out, these guys are super easy and taste awesome. In fact, you might want to double the onion part so you can have some snacks. Delicious, crispy onion snacks.
The end result is a delicious, creamy, crispy casserole with no hidden mystery ingredients. I’d totally eat that.
- 1 lb fresh Green Beans, ends trimmed and beans cut in half
- 2 ½ Tbsp Butter
- 2 Tbsp minced Shallots
- 1 large clove of Garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs Thyme
- 8 oz Mushrooms, chopped
- ½ C Sherry
- Béchamel Sauce
- 6 Tbsp Butter
- 3 Tbsp Flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- pinch Pepper
- 2 C Whole Milk, hot but not boiling
- ½ C White Wine, divided
- pinch Nutmeg
- Crispy Onion Straws
- 1 Yellow Onion, small to medium, very thinly sliced
- ½ C Whole Milk
- ½ C Buttermilk
- 1 C Flour
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- ⅛ tsp Pepper
- ¼ tsp Paprika
- Vegetable, Canola or Peanut Oil, for frying
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the green beans until tender, but slightly undercooked; approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the water and set the beans aside.
- Turn to the mushrooms and melt the butter in a pan. Add the shallots and cook until they are soft and fragrant before adding the garlic, thyme and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, then add the sherry to deglaze the pan.
- Hold the pan at a low simmer and reduce the liquid by at least half. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and set aside.
- Prepare the bechamel in a separate large pan or medium pot by melting the butter. Whisk in the flour, salt and pepper to make a roux and let it cook for a few minutes to get rid of any raw flour flavor.
- After a minute or two, the roux should start to turn blonde and take on a nutty aroma. Whisk in the hot milk and continue to cook the sauce until it thickens. Just before taking the bechamel off of the heat, stir in ¼ C of the white wine and the nutmeg. Continue cooking for about 30 seconds and then remove from the heat and transfer the sauce to a large bowl.
- Stir the mushrooms and any cooking liquid into the bechamel sauce. If the sauce is very stiff, stir in some of the remaining wine, a bit at a time, to loosen it up. Fold the green beans into the sauce. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic against the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming. At this point, the casserole filling is ready, but it's better if you let it sit in hte refrigerator overnight to let the the flavors mingle.
- To make the obligatory onion straws, combine the sliced onion, milk and buttermilk in a bowl and let them sit for at least 1 hour.
- While the onions are soaking, heat a deep pot of oil to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set the sheet next to the stove.
- When the onions have finished soaking, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a separate bowl.
- Using your hands or tongs, grab a bunch of the onions from the milk and shake them off to get rid of any excess liquid. Then toss them in the flour. Gather up the coated onions and shake them again to get rid of extra flour. Then put them in the hot oil and fry them until golden brown and crispy - approximately one minute to 1 min 20 sec. Remove the onions from the oil and set them on the paper towels to drain. Let the oil come back up to temperature and repeat the process until you've fried all of the onions.
- To assemble: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If you've refrigerated the beans and sauce overnight, let it come up to room temperature.
- There are two ways to go about the assembly: you can either pour all of the green beans and sauce directly into an 8x8 baking dish and then pile all the onion straws on top, or you can layer the beans/sauce and the onion straws, finishing up with the straws on top. It just depends on how you like your casserole.
- Once you've assembled the casserole, pop it in the middle of the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.
You can make everything a day ahead of time, even the onion straws because they'll crisp up again in the oven. Just don't combine the onions and filling until just before cooking.
If you're serving a big crowd, go ahead and double or triple the recipe.
If this has you dreaming about Thanksgiving,
you may want to dig into these recipes as well:
Cranberry Galettes | Peaches Please
Pumpkin Roll | Peaches Please
Healthier Sweet Potato Casserole | Peaches Please
Pumpkin Pie Stuffed Baked Apples | Peaches Please
Brussels Sprouts and Apple Hash | Peaches Please
Sous Vide Turkey Breast | Peaches Please