There are some people who absolutely love the classic green bean casserole made with condensed soup, and canned beans, and packaged fried onions. Some of this love is born of nostalgia, some because people really and truly love this classic casserole.
The there are some of us who get the nostalgia part, but that doesn’t make us love it. But the thought is a winning one – tender green beans enveloped in a creamy sauce and topped with crispy crunchy oniony things. That we get can down with.
So, for all you die-hard traditionalists, there is no way I imagine this will replace what you’ve known and loved for a long time. And if you make this for Thanksgiving, you may have to answer to Uncle Herbert, who liked it the way it’s been just fine. But for those of you who understand the annual green bean casserole craving, but would love a fresher take on the concept, here you go.
How Do I Make a Green Bean Casserole from Scratch?
For one, the canned soup is no longer. You saute fresh mushrooms, then in the same pan toast a bit of flour is with the mushrooms, and then make a thickened sauce with broth and half and half. The sauce turns into the binder for the casserole. Skinny and tender haricot verts are used in place of thicker green beans (though you could still use regular green beans; just add a minute or two to the blanching time). Finally, shallots are gently fried and used as the crunchy topping.
Truth: historically, this was never my favorite side. This year, that changes. Here is the Fresh Green Bean Casserole step-by-step, and then the recipe follows!
1. Trim the Beans
Snap off both ends using your fingers (Pinching off the tips with a clean sharp nail is effective) or a knife. This is a great task to delegate to a kitchen helper who doesn’t want to take on a more challenging task – also great for the kids!
2. Fry the Shallots
Shallots are gently fried in oil to turn into the crispy topping for the casserole. You could use onions or leeks instead, if you like.
3. Drain the Shallots
Transfer the fried shallots to paper towels to allow the excess oil to drain off, and keep the shallots crispy. Set aside to top the casserole.
4. Blanch the Green Beans
Blanching just means to quickly boil, and usually the food is then drained and plunged into ice water to stop the cooking and preserve the color of the food. Make sure to have a large bowl of ice water on hand before you plunge the fresh beans into the water them.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook the beans for about 4 to 7 minutes, depending on how thick they are (thin haricot verts will take less time, thicker green beans will take longer).
5. Drain and Cool the Beans
Drain the beans and transfer them to an ice water bath. Allow to cool then drain again, shaking off any excess water.
6. Sauté the Mushrooms
When mushrooms are sautéed they often release water. The key to nicely caramelized onions is to allow any water that is released to fully evaporate, and then to cook the mushrooms further until they have browned.
7. Add Shallots and Flour
Shallots, or some other member of the onion family, are added to the mushrooms for flavor, and sautéed quickly. Then add a bit of flour. Toasting the flour in the hot skillet before you add the liquid takes the “raw flavor” out of the flour. Then the flour will thicken the sauce once the liquid is added.
8. Add the Liquid
In this contemporary casserole a combination of broth and some sort of milk or cream (your choice) create the sauce, so it is light and just a bit creamy. The sauce will bind the casserole together and give it body.
9. Add the Beans
Add the blanched green beans are added back to the mushroom-ey cream sauce.
10. Bake the Green Bean Casserole
Turn the mixture into a casserole dish and bake in a preheated oven until hot and bubbly.
11. Add the Crisp Shallot Topping
At the end, the fried shallots are added to the top of the casserole to re-crisp and heat through.
12. Serve Up the Fresh Green Bean Casserole
You can garnish the casserole with some chopped fresh herbs, or not. And there it is – Green Bean Casserole with fresh green beans! Serve it up hot.
Other Fresh Green Bean Recipes:
- Honey Mustard Green Beans
- Green Bean Salad with Clementine Oranges and Feta
- Green Beans Two Ways
- Sautéed Haricot Verts with Red Onions and Shallots
- Green Beans with Chervil Vinaigrette
- Sautéed Green Beans and Oyster Mushrooms
Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Crispy Shallot Topping:
- 5 shallots very thinly sliced
- Canola or vegetable oil for frying
- Kosher salt to taste
Green Bean Casserole:
- 2 pounds haricot verts ends trimmed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound mushrooms wiped clean and roughly chopped (any kind of mushrooms, button, cremini, wild, whatever you like)
- 3 shallots minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup half and half
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley or chervil to garnish optional
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a shallow 3-quart casserole. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Line a plate with paper towels. Place the sliced shallots in a small saucepan and pour in canola or vegetable oil to cover. Place the pan on the stove, turn the heat to medium and allow the shallots to cook, with the heat barely at a simmer, stirring occasionally until they turn medium brown, about 5 minutes. Drain them in a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the oil for another use, then turn the shallots onto the paper-plate lined plate and blot with another paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.
- Fill a large bowl with water and some ice. Plunge the haricot verts into the pot of boiling water, and cook for about 5 minutes, just until crisp tender. Drain and plunge the partially cooked green beans into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain.
- Melt the butter in large skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until browned, and any liquid they have released has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Add the chopped shallots and sauté for another 2 minutes until the shallots are slightly softened. Sprinkle over the flour, and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes until the flour coats the mushrooms well, and turns golden. Slowly pour in the broth while stirring. Stir in the half and half, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid thickens. Add the partially cooked green beans. Turn into the prepared casserole. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle over the crispy sliced shallots and bake for 2 to 3 more minutes until shallots are hot and re-crisped. Serve hot, with the parsley or chervil if desired.
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