Real Green Bean Casserole

The final result.

The final result.

Last night I made a modernized thanksgiving dinner, which of course had to include green bean casserole. My aunt always makes the Cook’s Illustrated green bean casserole recipe when she comes over and it is absolutely to die for!

I found this recipe while googling the recipe for the Cook’s Illustrated version of the casserole. I kept almost everything the same, except I added parmesan. This casserole was bomb and I am so excited that my mom is making it again on Thursday for the real deal Thanksgiving chow-down!

2 things that I believe are imperative in the making of this dish:

  • You must make the mushroom sauce from scratch – no substitutions for the canned stuff! The homemade mushroom sauce is what makes the casserole so creamy and delicious (and I don’t even really like mushrooms!).
  • Use haricot verts (French green beans – I got mine from Trader Joe’s) – please please please do not use canned green beans! It will ruin the dish.

2 little tips:

  • You can freeze this dish. To freeze just bake the casserole as usual but do not put the topping of parmesan, breadcrumbs and fried onions top! You have to freeze those separately and throw them on top of the casserole just before you want to re-heat it. Make sure to defrost the casserole before re-heating it.
  • You can make this dish up to a day ahead of time and then bake it when your ready. I would just make  sure to re-stir the green beans and sauce together right before baking. Also, don’t add the topping until you are ready to bake it.

Ingredients (serves about 8 and fills a 9 x 13 in. casserole dish)

  • 2 pounds haricot verts (French green beans)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. baby bello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. dry sherry
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 container French’s French fried onions (about 2 cups worth maybe? – enough to cover the top)
  • 9 x 13 inch casserole dish

Directions

For the green beans: chop the ends off of the green beans and cut in half again.

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Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1-2 tbsp. salt (don’t skimp on the salt! – this is not the healthiest veggie dish ever created…). Blanch the green beans for about 6 minutes, or until desired firmness (the green beans will not continue to cook when baked – they will just be reheated).

Make a large bowl of ice water. When the beans are cooked to your liking drain them and then dump them into the ice bath. Leave for a few minutes and then drain again and dry the green beans. Set aside.

For the sauce: Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Remove the stems and cut them into small chunks. Melt 2-3 tbsp. butter in a large pan. Over medium heat, add the garlic, mushrooms, and some salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 – 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in 3 tbsp. flour and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock about ¼ cup at a time (you want the sauce to get thick so you need to add a little at a time, and whisk around frequently).  Once all chicken stock is combined, add the sherry and whisk. Bring this mixture to a simmer and stir occasionally.

Add the half and half and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 15 – 20 minutes. If the sauce does not thicken the way you want then you can combine 1 tbsp. cornstarch with 1 tbsp. cold water and then whisk it into the sauce. This should thicken it, if not, repeat.

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Taste the sauce for seasoning.

Once the sauce is thickened and tasty, add the dry green beans and stir together with the sauce.

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Combine the grated parmesan, panko breadcrumbs, and French fried onions. Mix together. Spread evenly over top of casserole, covering the entire thing.

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Bake at 400° for 20 minutes, or until bubbling lightly.

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