Green Bean Casserole


Green Bean Casserole is an iconic side dish enjoyed by an estimated 20 million people per year.  The original recipe first appeared in the Campbell Soup Company’s test kitchen in 1955 as a quick and easy dish made with ingredients found in most American kitchens in the 1950s.  The original recipe card was given to the National Inventors Hall of Fame by its creator, Dorcas Reilly.  In her version, canned or frozen green beans were combined with cream of mushroom soup and topped with french fried onions.  Later, Chef Julia Child disdained the use of canned or frozen green beans and recommended fresh only.  She blanched them and then added some butter.

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I make an updated version, using only fresh ingredients.  That’s right, no cream if whatever, and no canned onions.  It is lower in sodium, but no real savings in fat and calories.  This recipe is from Chef Joaquin Baca, chef/owner Brooklyn Star, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.

Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 small red onions, chopped
  • 4 ounces butter (1 stick)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground , black pepper
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut if desired
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 pearl onions, thinly sliced

Instructions:

Place half the mushrooms and all of the onions in a food processor and process to form a paste.  Set aside.

Melt butter, over medium heat, in a large saucepan and cook remaining mushrooms until they release their juice and begin to brown.  Add garlic and thyme, stir, then add mushroom/onion paste.  Cook on medium low for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat, stir in cream and stock, and season with salt and pepper..

Prepare an ice water bath and also bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Blanch green beans for 1 minute, then drain and plunge into ice water bath to stop their cooking.

Drain green beans and combine them with the mushroom/cream mixture, almonds, and half the breadcrumbs.  Pour the whole shebang into a large baking dish.  Try to flatten mixture as best you can and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven until until bubbly and starting to brown, 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss pearl onions with flour and season with salt and pepper.  Cook in a little oil until crispy and browned.  Drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle over finished casserole and serve.
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