Green Bean Casserole
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Green Bean Casserole
A true Thanksgiving classic, Green Bean Casserole has comfort written all over it. While you could stick with “good enough,” and go with the condensed mushroom soup and a can of fried onions, I would recommend doing yourself a favor and swinging for the fences with this from scratch version. Be forewarned, though, there is no going back to your old ways after trying this!
- 2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
- 6-8 medium sized shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided (¾ stick)
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 6 oz. can French’s fried onions
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground sage
- Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Fill a large pot with water, add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. While the water is coming a boil and the oven is preheating, trim the ends of the green beans and cut in half. A trick to quickly trim the ends of green beans is the grab a bunch of beans and use kitchen shears. In cutting the beans, imagine how a perfect bite of the finished product might be (i.e. not too short or long).
3. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for approximately five minutes. You are aiming for the beans to be 80% cooked (the remainder of the cooking will happen in the oven later). While the beans are cooking, fill a large mixing bowl with ice and then add enough water to cover the ice. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the beans from the boiling water to the ice water to preserve their color and to halt the cooking process. Stir the beans until fully chilled and then drain the water. Do not let the beans soak in the water. Once drained, put the beans back into the dry mixing bowl and set aside.
4. In a large, deep sided sauté pan, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and diced onions to the pan and sauté until softened and starting to brown. Add salt. Add the minced garlic and remaining butter to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour to create a roux and lower the heat slightly. Using a whisk, incorporate the flour into the vegetable and butter mixture. Continue to whisk lightly for 5 minutes or so until the roux has turned into a nutty brown color.
5. Add half of the chicken stock, increase heat slightly and whisk vigorously. Scrap the bottom of the pan as you whisk to dissolve any brown bits that may have formed. Add the remaining chicken stock and whisk until smooth. Allow to come to a simmer and continue to whisk to prevent burning while the liquid thickens. Add the ground sage and black pepper if you prefer it (I do). Simmer over medium-high heat for a few minutes to thicken the liquid and allow the flavors to come together. Reduce heat to medium and whisk in the half and half. Bring the liquid back up to a simmer and taste it. Make any necessary flavor adjustments (add more salt, pepper, sage, or garlic powder, for example) and remove from heat. The consistency should be similar to a gravy.
6. Pour the finished sauce over the beans in the mixing bowl. Toss the beans in the sauce to coat. It should look more like heavily dressed green beans as opposed to soup. If you are concerned that your mixture is too thin, you can add some of the fried onions to help thicken it. The mixture as a whole will thicken up in the oven, too, so don’t be too concerned here. Transfer the mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish (I prefer using glass Pyrex dishes) and spread evenly. There is no need to grease the pan first as there is enough fat in the mixture to sufficiently lubricate the dish.
7. Top the dish evenly with the fried onions and bake in the 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes until the dish has fully warmed through and turned golden brown. Let cool slightly and then serve.