11/17/2011

Homemade Green Bean Casserole (from scratch)

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Is there a dish more expected and roundly beloved at the holiday dinner table than green bean casserole? Other than the main event, I think not.  It has been years (like back in high school when Mom made it) since I have had this American staple, mainly due to the fact that I avoid canned condensed soups.  Yes, the cans are quick and convenient, but the positive qualities end about there.  Knowing that many of you (including family and friends) enjoy this dish, I thought it was high time to go homemade and put it back on the table.   
                   
I have one child that does not care for mushrooms. I have one child that does not care for green beans. I have one child that does not care for either.  However, all three children more than care for this dish.  In fact, they go back for more!!

First, the beans are blanched until tender.  I like mine a bit more on the tender side, but cook yours according to your own texture preference.  It will also depend on the type of bean.  I like to use thin haricot verts, but use what you can find and blanch them until desired tenderness.  (Take a bite to be sure).  Once baked, the texture will not change much, the beans just absorb some of the good sauce flavor.  Speaking of sauce, it starts with a bit of butter (always good) and diced mushrooms.  I add shallots for a mild onion flavor and a clove more of garlic.  Flour, chicken stock, and cream are added to make a thick sauce.  To take the flavor and creaminess to another level, I add a bit of Gruyère cheese (an aged white Cheddar is tasty, too) and a splash of sherry.  Married with the mushrooms, shallots, and cream, it is a classic combo of flavors.   

As far as the topping, it is a blend of old vs. new.  A few cups full of those french-fried onions for nostalgia purposes along with the addition of Panko crumbs makes for a crunchy and pick-worthy topping that adds that loved texture and flavor.


After all that, there is still more. This dish can be made ahead of time-- bonus for the holidays!  The topping can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, then combined with the fried onions just before cooking.  Once the beans and sauce have cooled separately, they can be combined.  Transfer the mixture to the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  To serve, remove the plastic wrap and cover with foil.  Heat the the casserole in a 425º F oven for 10 minutes.  Remove the foil, add the topping, then bake for another 10-15 or until browned and bubbling. (I have included this in the recipe below). 

I may have forgotten (o.k. avoided) this all-American side dish in the last several years, but I can honestly say that now, my family will never have a holiday without it!

Other sides dishes you might enjoy for Thanksgiving



Printable Recipe

Green Bean Casserole (from scratch)
serves 10-12

For the Topping
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 cups (6-ounces) of canned fried onions
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Beans and Sauce
2 pounds haricots verts or thin green beans, ends trimmed and halved
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces white button mushrooms,cleaned and finely diced
2 small shallots, finely diced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese, about 2 ounces grated (an aged white Cheddar works nicely, too)
2 teaspoons dry Sherry (optional, but good)

For the Topping
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter and panko.  Add the fried onions, salt, and pepper and pulse just until coarse crumbs form, about 3-5 (1-second) pulses; set aside.

For the Beans and Sauce
With oven rack in middle position, preheat the oven to 425º F.  Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice; set aside.  Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and beans.  Cook until beans are bright green and tender about 6-9 minutes (taste for desired tenderness).  Drain beans in a colander and immediately plunge into the ice water to stop the cooking process.  Spread beans in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain completely.

In the empty pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat until foaming subsides.  Add the mushrooms, shallots, and garlic.  Sauté until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes.  Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in broth, stirring constantly.  Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.  Add cheese and stir until melted, about 1 minute.  Stir in the Sherry, if using.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the green beans to the sauce and gently toss to coat.  Transfer the beans to a 3-quart (or 9 x 13-inch) baking dish.  Sprinkle the topping over the beans and bake until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling, about 15 minutes.  Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

*To make in advance-
The topping can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, then combined with the fried onions just before cooking.  Once the beans and sauce have cooled separately, they can be combined.  Transfer the mixture to the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  To serve, remove the plastic wrap and cover with foil.  Heat the the casserole in a 425º F oven for 10 minutes.  Remove the foil, add the topping, then bake for another 10-15 or until browned and bubbling.

Source: Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

15 comments:

  1. You're a godsend!!! I make green bean casserole EVERY year for my family, the typical condensed soup version, and this is the first year where I'm really committed to eating real food and did NOT want to make the canned soup casserole. I had been scouring the web for a scratch version to no avail, and so I nearly jumped for joy when this appeared in my Google Reader! Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! :)

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  2. Lauren-
    You are welcome! I am glad I was able to share it before the holidays. I hope you and your family enjoy the recipe:) Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

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  3. Ok this looks amazing...do you have a stuff recipe? From scratch...I always used the box stuff and this year am making it from scratch. Your recipes are always amazing, so any ideas?

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  4. What a wonderful casserole - really delicious. This is a wonderful post full of fantastic ideas for Thanksgiving. I'm so glad I found your blog - I'm subscribing - so looking forward to more!
    Mary x

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  5. Ooh yum! You just took me right back to great holiday meals. This is one of my all time favorite dishes. I love that you've done a from scratch one. Yum!

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  6. You mentioned something about adding "a splash of sherry" when adding the cheese. About how much should I add? Thanks!

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  7. Chantal-
    Good catch--recipe edited. The first time I made it without the sherry, but felt it needed something. The Sherry really added a nice note.

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  8. Your "make-ahead" directions for the topping don't make sense to me. You say "topping can be stored in airtight container in the frig, then combined with the fried onions just before cooking". I made the topping (which includes the fried onions) ahead according to the directions. What "fried onions" do you combine the topping with since they are already in the topping??

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  9. Anon-
    The "make ahead" instructions are at the bottom of the recipe and different from the main recipe. Combine the butter and panko and store in the refrigerator. Then, just before cooking add the canned fried onions and proceed with the "make ahead" recipe.

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  10. Because my husband hates anything that has cream of *whatever* soup in it I was thrilled to find your recipe! Made this for Thanksgiving dinner and got rave reviews from all. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I used this recipe at Thanksgiving and it was the rave! I am home with my family for Christmas and am making it for my brothers and sister. I won't go back!

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  12. Can't wait to try this in a week. My picky kiddo will probably love it!

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  13. I made this casserole for Thanksgiving last year and I can't wait to make it again this year. It was my favorite dish of the night!

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  14. We have some vegetarians at the table for christmas... do you think it would be ok to substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth? is there something else you would recommend... can't wait to get this made tomorrow for xmas day!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you can use vegetable broth. Enjoy!

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