While very belated, I wanted to finally getting around to posting my first attempt at making a from-scratch Green Bean Casserole. On our way home from visiting our family in Houston this Christmas Eve, W mentioned that he was once again craving GBC. He wasn’t sure what he wanted as a main, but he absolutely knew he wanted this as a side.
Comfort dishes like this one always appear to be so much simpler to prepare when using a canned cream of something-or-other soup instead of just making your own cream sauce. This one is as simple as melting some butter, whisking in some flour, and adding some liquid and combining the components into a baking dish.
Ditch the topping in favor of just the traditional French fried onions (if you want) and you have a quite simple make-ahead meal that will win over family and guests alike.
For the Topping:
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups (6-oz) of canned fried onions
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
For the Green Beans and Sauce
- 2 lbs. haricots verts or thin green beans, ends trimmed and halved
- 8 oz. mushrooms (I used chantrelles and cremini) cleaned and chopped
- 2 small shallots, finely diced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 1 Tbsp. butter
- 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream (or in a pinch, half and half, I used fat free)
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese, about 2 ounces grated (an aged white Cheddar works nicely, too)
For the Topping:
Combine the butter and panko in the bowl of a food processor. Add the fried onions, salt, and pepper and pulse just until coarse crumbs form, about 3-5 (1-second) pulses; set aside.
Or, for a bit of nostalgia, go with a healthy topping of canned french fried onions, which is what I’ve done.
For the Beans and Sauce:
Preheat your oven to 425º F, and move your rack to the middle position. Since we’re going to quickly blanch the green beans after cooking, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice; set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the green beans to a steamer basket. Cover and cook until the 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 a large pan, melt 1 Tbsp 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.
In a non-stick pot melt 3 Tbsp butter. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
Slowly add broth and half and half, whisking costantly. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce has thickened, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon.
Add cheese and stir until melted, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the green beans to the mushroom mixture and stir to incorporate.
Place beans and mushrooms to a 3-quart (or 9 x 13-inch) baking dish.
Add the sauce.
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.
*You can also make this dish 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.