Green Bean Casserole

I’m not sure I’ve ever had green bean casserole prior to making my own this week. Much like sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole has just never been a part of our Thanksgiving tradition. If I have tried this dish, I certainly don’t remember it but I can almost guarantee you it involved a can of cream of mushroom soup. Maybe even canned green beans? Who knows. But I figured if I was going to do it, I’d do it entirely from scratch: fresh green beans, a creamy mushroom sauce and fried shallot rings!

Green beans have always been one of my favorite veggies. As I sat in front of the tv prepping them for this recipe I had flashbacks to summer days at my grandparents’ house doing the same with freshly picked beans from my grandfather’s garden. The good memories made the prep a little less tedious :)

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With the green beans ready to go, the rest of the recipe actually moved pretty quickly. This is another great side dish that can be assembled in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to bake, freeing up some time on Thanksgiving morning (or whenever you choose to make it). I expected to like this casserole and I really did, it was flavorful and fresh. The fried shallots were the perfect finishing touch, so crisp! I’m lucky I had enough left to top the casserole after all the samples I snuck… And though I know a lot of people shy away from frying, you can do this in just a small amount of oil to make it less scary. Totally worth the effort, I promise! Though if you’d rather not, you could definitely substitute the canned version and I’m sure it’d still be great.

This weekend is our Thanksgiving celebration with our friends, and if someone hadn’t already volunteered to bring green beans I would definitely be sharing this dish! There’s always next year I guess :)

From Scratch Green Bean Casserole
adapted from Williams-Sonoma (via Annie’s Eats)

Casserole
1 1/4 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 oz button mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

Topping
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the green beans in a large sauté pan and cover with a few inches of water. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 4-6 minutes, or until the beans are tender but still crisp. Drain in a colander and rinse the beans with cold water.

Using the same sauté pan, place over medium-high heat and add the butter. Allow to melt, then add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their liquid. Stir in the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, or until softened. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the half-and-half, chicken broth and soy sauce and stir to incorporate (you can also use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan if you have brown bits). Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the green beans back to the pan and stir to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper then transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles around the edges. (Alternatively, you could cover the dish and refrigerate the casserole here. Increase the baking time to 30 minutes when you’re ready to cook.)

While the casserole bakes, make the fried shallots to top it. Pour canola oil into a small saucepan to a depth of about 1 inch. Heat until the oil registers 350 F on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, dredge the shallots in the flour. Shake off any excess, then fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallots are golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool slightly. Top the casserole with the fried shallots and serve.