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.

Thanksgiving dinner: Modernized

Turkey sliders with gouda and cranberry mayo served with real green bean casserole and chipotle sweet potato fries. My beverage of choice tonight is an apple pie martini (along with the usual wine – tonights wine is Clarksburg Wine Company’s Delta Blanc  – it is alright but not my favorite).

HOLY. SMOKES. This was absolutely fantabulously wonderful. The thyme in the turkey burgers was an ode to the stuffing flavors that are usually present at thanksgiving. The cranberry mayo, caramelized onions, and gouda were the perfect toppers for the burgers – creamy, tangy and sweet all at the same time.

You can really use any kind of bread – I would suggest a dinner role as representative for a Thanksgiving regular: buttered rolls.

I would also like to note that this is the best green bean casserole that I have ever consumed. Making the cream of mushroom soup from scratch really makes a 100% difference in creaminess and overall amazingness. I think it is super important to use haricot verts instead of regular ole green beans because of their thickness and crunchiness. I also added parmesan, because, let’s face it, everything’s better with parmesan…

A few other side notes:

  1. You can freeze green bean casserole. Just make sure to freeze the topping separately.
  2. These sliders would make a wonderful hors d’ouevres.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 pound  ground white meat turkey
  • ½ tsp. each: ground thyme, paprika, and onion powder
  • 1 tsp. each: garlic powder, salt, and pepper
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large tbsp. plain greek yogart
  • Cranberry Mayo
  • Caramelized onions (use 2 medium yellow onions)
  • 8 Dinner rolls
  • 1 bag Alexia’s chipotle sweet potato fries (or regular if you don’t like a little spice)
  • Real green bean casserole

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°. First make the green bean casserole. This can sit while you prepare everything else and be put in the oven during the last 20 minutes.

Mix the hamburger meat: put 1 pound ground turkey and add thyme, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, panko, and  greek yogurt. Mix altogether with your hands. Form into 8 smaller patties and press your thumb into the middle of the burger patty (this helps it not to become a ball when it cooks). Set the burgers on a plate and place in fridge.

Make the cranberry relish and then use that to make the cranberry mayo. Set both in fridge to let the flavors meld together.

All of the above can sit for at least 5 hours until you’re ready to cook everything.

Start baking the sweet potato fries.

Wrap the dinner rolls in tin foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Bake the green bean casserole (it takes about 15 minutes as well).

Drizzle a little olive oil into a cast iron fry pan and when the pan is nice and hot cook the sliders over medium high heat.  (I would not advise grilling these burgers unless you get a ground turkey with a fair amount of fat it in which is hard because turkey is so lean). Sear both sides and then lower the heat and allow to cook for 5 more minutes or so. When you flip the sliders add sliced gouda and melt. Take the sliders off the heat and allow to sit for a few minutes.

Serve the sliders on top of a dinner roll with champagne mustard (or Dijon), the caramelized onions, and a healthy portion of the cranberry mayo. Skewer the sliders with a toothpick (or in my case, a wooden kebob because I ran out of toothpicks) to keep them from falling all over your plate.

Serve the sliders with green bean casserole and sweet potato fries.

Steak Pot Pie with Cabernet Sauvignon, Potatoes, and Mushrooms

Hurricane Sandy is on the rise and it is cold and rainy here. School has been closed for tomorrow, so I am taking this as a “snowday”. My roommate and I figured it is the perfect day to make a fire, carve pumpkins, have mimosas and drink our current favorite red wine (Espuela del Gaucho’s Malbec), which was the perfect accompaniment to the steak pot pie). So, we did just that. It was a wonderful fall day!

We also figured that we should have cold-weather meal, and what better than a steak pot pie filled with mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, Cabernet and Balsamic! I found this recipe on pinterest. Lindsey Weiss created this recipe in honor of her home town or Kansas City, and went on the Today show to make this delicious pot pie! I have changed the recipe slightly to suit my taste.

The first time I made this dish I did not use the right meat (I can’t remember what I used but it was too tough, even though it cooked for 3 hours). My parents brought me tenderloin tips from a local farm in Maryland and I used those this time and the dish turned out to be much more tender and flavorful! You could probably use beef cubes for stew, but I think I will only use tenderloin tips from now on.

This dish takes a while to make but it is well worth it!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tenderloin tips (I have used other steaks, but find this one to be the best for this dish)
  • 2 tbsp. McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 yellow onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms (baby portabella’s would work as well)
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. fresh minced thyme
  • 1 tsp. fresh minced oregano
  • 1 tsp. fresh minced rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon, chilled (Merlot would probably work too)
  • 1 package prepared puff pastry sheets
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions

If using a cut of meat that is not already diced up, then dice the meat. In a large Ziploc bag, marinate the steak in Montreal steak seasoning, ¼ cup red wine, and ¼ cup balsamic vinegar.

Prep your veggies: Use a damp cloth to wipe the mushroom caps clean and remove the stems. Cut into small pieces (I don’t love mushrooms so I cut mine pretty small but you can make them bigger if you enjoy mushrooms). Peel and cut the carrots into ½ inch pieces. Cut the onion into ½ inch pieces. Mince the garlic. Wash and cut the potatoes into ½ inch pieces. Finely chop the fresh rosemary. Chill the red wine (it is best to have it at least slightly chilled so that the cornstarch doesn’t clump when it is added to the wine).

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the steak pieces in the olive oil just until browned (but not fully cooked). Use a slotted spoon to remove steak from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. In the same pot, sauté the onion and carrots until softened and aromatic (about 5 minutes). Add the mushrooms, potatoes, and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, covered. Stir in paprika, thyme, oregano, rosemary, bay leaves, and a little salt and pepper.

Add the beef stock and browned steak into the pot. Stir to combine everything and reduce the heat to medium low.

Cover the pot and allow the stew to simmer gently for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. At this point, you want the meat to be very tender and the potatoes to be very cooked (you might want to taste a piece of each to check).

Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine the cornstarch with chilled red wine and whisk. Turn the heat up to medium and pour in the cornstarch mixture. Stir to combine. Allow the sauce to simmer rapidly until thickened, about 5 minutes. If the stew isn’t thick enough for you, add a little more wine to a measuring cup (even if it’s not chilled) and a little more cornstarch (about 1 tsp.) and whisk together, then add that to the stew and stir altogether.

Remove bay leaves from the filling and pour into a pyrex baking dish. You want the filling to almost reach the top so that the pastry has something to rest on.

Cut the pastry into strips (if needed) and place onto the casserole dish so that the entire dish is covered. Whisk 2 eggs together and brush the top of the pastry with the eggs.

Cut 2 slits into each pie to allow the steam to escape and brush pastry with the rest of the beaten egg. Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or just until the pastry is cooked through and golden brown. You might want to put a baking sheet on the rack below the casserole to catch any juices that overflow during baking. I made this mistake of not doing this and the entire bottom of the oven was covered in red wine and balsamic juices.

Serve with roasted broccoli, a salad, or asparagus.