01 May 2012

"Oh no . . . Aunt Nellie brought her green bean casserole!"

365.2.21 : Sometimes I eat just a can of green beans for dinner.
{image credit: the boastful baker}
This is one of those unfortunate dishes that winds up as the butt of holiday jokes. Its shabby reputation, I think, comes from its genesis in multiple cans (MSG'd!). Even though we secretly relish each gelatinous serving, we know that nothing with that many processed foods involved could possibly be good for us.

Da da daaaa . . . introducing an alternative. Just as good as the original, actually better in my opinion, and a lot less guilty. More work, since slicing mushrooms and whisking up a roux takes longer than cracking open a can. It also requires three burners on the stove. But if you find such work worthwhile, this recipe is perfect.

Since this uses so much stovetop realty, I like to serve it when the main dish is grilled or baked. Think shishkebab or roast chicken

Is it sacrilegious to make green bean casserole on days that are not Thanksgiving?


"Unprocessed" Green Bean Casserole
(original recipe from Brown Eyed Baker)

1 lb green beans, fresh or frozen
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 medium yellow onion, quartered and sliced thinly
10 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt (or more)
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

1) Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
2) Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onion and saute for one or two minutes, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until soft and caramelized.
3) If using fresh green beans, trim stems and cut into 1-inch lengths; bring pot of water to rolling boil and blanch just until crisp-tender, then drain in large colander. If using frozen green beans, prepare according to package directions, undercooking slightly.
4) Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in separate skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned. Add cornstarch and cook for a minute more, stirring briskly. Add stock and milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking vigorously with each addition to avoid lumps. Cook for a few minutes until thick and glossy. Season with salt and pepper.
5) Stir cooked and drained green beans into mushroom sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Transfer into prepared baking dish and top with caramelized onions and chopped walnuts. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until browned and bubbling at edges.

If you'd like to make this in advance, it will probably just require a longer baking time.