Fresh Green Bean Casserole

I have a confession to make.  A dirty, awful, secret that I have been keeping for years.

I’m a sucker for green bean casserole….you know, the kind with the canned condensed soup and the dried onions that come in a cardboard cylinder.  It’s probably my favorite side dish at Thanksgiving each year.

I don’t know why this is a dirty secret.  I’m not ashamed.

But, you see, I have really been trying to cut back on lots of food with preservatives. I already put salt on lots of food sheepishly, and when I read the labels on many of these pre-packaged ingredients, I feel a little nervous about the amounts of fillers, additives, and extra surprises I am adding to my food.  I allow myself usually one processed item per day (my Smartfood white cheddar popcorn…it’s like crack to me), but the rest of what I eat is limited to straight up, pure, or almost-as-pure-as-possible food (unless we are talking about chocolate, especially snack size chocolate bars, which are also like crack to me).  A couple of years ago, when I cut back on things like that and started exercising a bit, I lost over 30 pounds.  I find that when I cut things out like carbonated beverages, excess sugar, or preservatives, I sleep better, I have more energy, and I don’t feel sick after eating as much (because I am usually eating while I work).

So, this year I wanted to find a green bean casserole that could be an easy substitute for the other version.  This is pretty awesome, people.  Granted, it’s not as simple to assemble as the “other” version (and, trust me, I will probably be eating the other version this year since I will be a guest at this year’s Thanksgiving festivities instead of being the host, and I will eat it with great enjoyment), but it’s extremely tasty.  There’s nothing like using the freshest ingredients possible when cooking.

 

Fresh Green Bean Casserole

Servings: approximately 6 side-dish servings

 

Ingredients

For the topping:

2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons panko

1 teaspoon sea salt

For the casserole:

2 tablespoons sea salt (for boiling the green beans), plus an extra 1 teaspoon sea salt

1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned, trimmed, and halved

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

12 ounces assorted mushrooms (I used a mixture of white button and cremini), cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Pinch nutmeg

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup half-and-half

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

1. For the topping: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the onions, flour, panko, and salt, tossing lightly to thoroughly coat the onions with the flour mixture.

3. On a rimmed baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray, spread the onions out in an even layer, and bake, tossing the onions occasionally during baking to allow for even cooking, for about 30 minutes.  Once the onions are cooked, decrease the oven temperature to 400 degrees (you will bake the casserole at this temperature.)

4. For the casserole: Meanwhile, bring a large sauce pot of water and the 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil.

5. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.

6. Drain the beans and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water to prevent overcooking; drain and set aside.

7. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.

8. Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper (to taste), and cook until the mushrooms are softened, about 4-5 minutes.

9. Add the minced garlic and the nutmeg, and cook, stirring frequently, for another 1-2 minutes.

10. Sprinkle the flour over the cooking mushrooms and stir to coat thoroughly, and cook for another minute.  Add the broth and continue to simmer for another minute.

11. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half, stirring frequently, and cook until slightly thickened, about 6-8 more minutes.

12. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1/4th of the cooked onions and all of the green beans.

13. Transfer the mixture to a 1.5-quart casserole and top with the remaining onions.

14. Bake for 15 minutes.  Serve warm.

 

Source:  Slightly adapted from Alton Brown via the Food Network.

 

November 18, 2011 - 6:35 am

Caroline - I’m not ashamed to say that I loveee the old fashion green bean casserole. And I don’t think it’s all that bad because I eat it only once a year. And I have tried “healthier” or fresher version of the green bean casserole but there’s something about that condensed soup and salty fried dried onions that makes me choose it over the “better” one.

November 18, 2011 - 4:34 pm

Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos - Can I be frank – I’ve had the “other” one and I just didn’t like it. However, I made Chef Alex Guaranschelli’s last year and it’s a tried and true. I think it’s probably my avoidance of condensed soup after learning all that I’ve learned about it that will stop me from eating any that’s not made like her’s or Alton’s.

November 18, 2011 - 4:44 pm

Anna - I hate the traditional green been casserole. That nasty cream of mushroom soup and those disgusting weird onion things on the top…. yuck! This recipe sounds absolutely delicious other than the fact that I also don’t like mushrooms. I wonder if there would be a way to make it without mushrooms. Hmmm, I might have to experiment with that.

November 18, 2011 - 11:43 pm

Tessa - Thanks for this. I love traditional green been casserole too, but much like you, I have been trying to cut processed foods out of our diets. I am definitely saving this recipe!

November 25, 2011 - 5:50 pm

And … on the other side of Thanksgiving! « Scraps of Me - [...] is courtesy of The Curvy Carrot and yeah, my casserole looked just like her [...]

November 27, 2011 - 2:23 pm

Tina - Is it me or is the vegetable broth missing from the directions?

I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a HIT! In fact, I’m headed to make my 2nd batch right now. Thanks for the wonderful and healthy recipe.

November 27, 2011 - 2:26 pm

srlacy - OH MY GOSH! Tina, thank you so much! Yes, I omitted the broth. It’s all fixed now. Thank you again! :)

April 5, 2012 - 12:51 pm

The Curvy Carrot » Fresh Green Bean Casserole | green-bean-casserole - [...] The Curvy Carrot » Fresh Green Bean Casserole This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged attribution, creative, creative-commons, [...]

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