Relax, It's Just Green Bean Casserole

Forget the canned soup; skip the canned fried onions. This casserole is a fresh take on one of everyone's favorite holiday side dishes.
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Updating a Classic

More jokes are made about traditional green bean casserole — with its canned cream of mushroom soup and its fried onions from a container — than any other Thanksgiving side. Despite the ribbing, many people love it in all of its processed glory, but others wouldn’t mind a refined, modern version.

 

What’s different about this recipe? For one, the canned soup is no longer. Skinny haricots verts are used in place of thicker green beans, sauteed mushrooms are folded in, and a thickened sauce made from broth and half-and-half binds it all together. Finally, shallots are gently fried and used as a crunchy topping. 

 

Historically, this was never my favorite side dish. This Thanksgiving, that changes.

 

Photography by Katie Workman and Sarah Crowder

Trimming the Beans

This is a great task to delegate to a kitchen helper who doesn’t want to take on a more challenging task. It's also great for the kids! 

Frying the Shallots

Gently fry the shallots in oil to turn them into a crispy topping for the casserole. You could use onions or leeks instead, if you like.

Draining the Shallots

Transfer the fried shallots to paper towels to allow the excess grease to drain off, and to keep the shallots crispy.

Blanching the Beans

Make sure to have a large bowl of ice water on hand to stop the cooking before you blanch the beans. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the beans for about 4 to 7 minutes, depending on how thick they are. If you decide to use green beans instead of haricots verts, just add a minute or two to the blanching time. (Haricots verts are thinner, so they will take less time.)

Draining and Cooling the Beans

Drain and transfer the beans to the ice-water bath. Allow them to cool, then drain them.

Sauteing the Mushrooms

Make sure to saute the mushrooms until any liquid they release is evaporated. That’s how you get the nice caramelized exterior and prevent sogginess. Add uncooked shallots, or some other member of the onion family, to the mushrooms for flavor, and then add a bit of flour, which will thicken the sauce. Toasting the flour in the hot skillet before you add the liquid takes the “raw flavor” out of the flour.

Adding the Liquid

Add broth and some sort of milk or cream to create the sauce, which will bind the casserole together and give it creaminess. 

Adding the Beans

Add the blanched beans to the mushroom cream sauce and combine.  

Baking the Casserole

Turn the mixture into the prepared casserole and bake in the preheated oven.  

Sprinkling the Shallots on Top

After about 15 minutes, add the fried shallots to the top to re-crisp and heat them through.

Serving the Finished Casserole

You can garnish the casserole with some chopped fresh herbs, or not, and serve it up hot!

Get the Recipe: Modern Green Bean Casserole