Food Network's Communal Thanksgiving Table: Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots

We're joining Food Network's virtual Thanksgiving potluck and we're bringing Ellie Krieger's lighter green bean casserole to the table.
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Photo by: Kana Okada ©2011, Kana Okada

Kana Okada, 2011, Kana Okada

Even when attending a virtual Thanksgiving, where presumably, the calories, fat and additives aren't actually real, we want to bring something healthy to the table. So when we were asked to contribute a dish to Food Network's virtual Thanksgiving, the choice was easy -- we signed up right away to "bring" Ellie Krieger's Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots. No proper Thanksgiving meal is complete without this traditional casserole. So don't leave it off of your table, but do skip the canned soup and canned crunchy onions. Both the creamy sauce and crunchy onions (which make the dish) are as easy to make as it is to open a can, but the difference in taste from the original is enormous. The homemade version is so much more fresh and flavorful than the one made with canned stuff, plus it's not heavy and loaded with sodium from the soup.

Don't be afraid of "haricot verts," that's just French for green beans. But the term usually refers to thin green beans, so if you can't find haricot verts at the store, choose long, thin green beans for this casserole.

Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger for Food Network Magazine

Makes 8 servings

1/4 cup olive oil
6 medium shallots, sliced into rings (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 pounds thin fresh string beans or haricots verts, trimmed
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1/4 cup shallots and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining shallots, cooking 1/4 cup at a time. Reserve the oil in the skillet.

Place the green beans in a steamer basket fitted over a pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until bright green and still crisp, about 3 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved shallot oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom liquid is evaporated and they begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl.

Whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Add the mixture to the skillet and, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the green beans, mushroom mixture, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, the parsley, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon the green bean mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle the top with the crispy shallots and the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake until golden on top and bubbling, about 20 minutes.

And if you're into beans but not the crunchy stuff, try these green bean dishes:

See what our friends are bringing to the table and tell us what you would bring to the table on Twitter by using the hashtag: #pullupachair.

Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Braided Biscuits

Mains:

Sides:
EatingWell: Green Bean Casserole
The Daily Meal: Bacon Brussels Sprouts
AP/ J.M. Hirsch: Ginger-Pear Cranberry Sauce

Desserts:

The Blender/ Williams-Sonoma: Deep-Dish Apple Bourbon Streusel Pie

Southern Living: Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake
Cooking Channel: Apple Bread Pudding
Fox News: Ginger Molasses Sugar Cookies
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