So, here’s a recipe for green bean casserole. It does not use canned soup. It does not used canned onions. It’s all from scratch. 100%.
I confess that green bean casserole wasn’t a thing on our Thanksgiving table. It just…wasn’t. We ate our green beans steamed, maybe with a little butter, but I really don’t even think that. The foods that Mom chose to prepare for Thanksgiving and the kind that we grew up on were…dare I say, healthy? Save for the Pillsbury crescent rolls, everything was on the “clean” side- with not a ton of goopy sauces or overly cheesy sides. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things (now, I’m like give me all the mac & cheese!!!!), but it’s just not what makes my Thanksgiving table complete. Plus, we weren’t a really big casserole family, so, like I said, it just wasn’t a thing.
That being said, I don’t think I even had it until my first Friendsgiving. Maybe law school? I don’t know, but this particular American-staple holiday side dish has remained a bit of an anomaly to my whole family, even today. I figured if I was going to do it, I was going to do it, and that meant that in order to fit it into my French theme and my normal unprocessed life, we were going to have to start from scratch.
While the normal version of this recipe takes approximately 5 minutes to assemble, this one, does not. If you watched the process over Instagram this weekend, you probably noticed that there were a lot of steps:
Blanch the green beans (haricot verts, in this case).
Fry the shallots.
Cook the mushrooms.
Make the béchamel.
It’s a lot but it’s totally worth it. I’d say we’re looking at 40 minutes or so, using multiple burners. Also, I’ve French-i-fied this recipe in a few ways:
Haricot verts rather than regular green beans.
Shallots over onions.
Gruyere, just for fun.
If you’re making this, know that the beans, mushrooms and the shallots can really all be made ahead of time, leaving nothing but the sauce to make right before it goes into the oven. Sorry, can’t do that before because it might separate.
Have I lost you? If you’re still with me and are considering trying this recipe, please do! You’ll never go back.
- 1 1/2 pounds haricot verts
- 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- 6 button mushrooms, sliced, stems removed
- 6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced, stems removed
- 3 TB plus 1/2 TB unsalted butter
- 3 TB all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk (2% or higher), hot
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp coarse ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- 6 sage leaves, chiffonade
- 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- First, blanch the green beans. In a large stock pot of boiling water until bright green in color and tender crisp, roughly 3 minutes. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop from cooking. Set aside.
- Second, fry the shallots. In a cast-iron skillet, add the oil and add the shallots in a single layer, careful not to burn them. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.
- Third, cook the mushrooms. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add 1/2 TB butter and the sliced mushrooms. Cook until soft and brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Fourth, make the sauce. In the same pan as the mushrooms, melt the remaining 3TB butter and stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit— about 2 minutes. Don’t let it brown. Add the hot milk, stirring continuously. Bring it to a boil. Add salt, nutmeg and pepper, more to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 3 to 5 minutes more. Stir in the sage leaves, mushrooms and 1/2 c cheese, stirring in a figure 8 motion until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
- Assemble the casserole. In an 8x8 pan, add the beans and top with the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and then finally top the whole thing with the shallots. Bake for 20 minutes until warmed through and bubbly. Serve immediately.