The World’s Most Convenient Green Bean Casserole. Fresh green beans, fresh mushrooms. Make ahead of time and freeze for later.
People don’t call me the ‘green bean casserole lady’ for nothing. You see, two years ago the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole for A Veggie Venture's first collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes created some stir at Thanksgiving tables. Made with fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms bathed in a thyme-scented, sherry-sweetened cream sauce, it was comfort-food extraordinaire, just fresher.
So why, then, am I here again with << another recipe >> for green bean casserole?
With fresh beans and fresh mushrooms, this new recipe is a lot like the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole. (And both, happily, are << unlike >> the original green bean casserole's canned green beans and canned mushroom soup.)
So let’s call this new recipe the 'World’s Most Convenient Green Bean Casserole'. That's because, in this new recipe:
The beans are snapped and put into the casserole raw, yes raw, the ‘uncooked’ raw! They cook just fine, really.
The casserole gets frozen, yes, frozen solid and is baked straight from the freezer! It needn’t be thawed, really.
Don’t get me wrong, on the basis of taste, the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole keeps its lofty title and is my first recommendation. There’s just something magnificent about the bean-cooking technique that draws out every burst of bean flavor.
But for convenience, well, this Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Casserole wins, hands-down. Because it can be made far in advance, it’s especially good for extra-large gatherings. At the same time, because it can be split up into multiple dishes for freezing, it’s also especially good for small gatherings.
So call me the Green Bean Casserole Lady. I’ll just smile knowingly and think to myself, "Yes, a good green bean casserole recipe. It really can light my light."
FRESH GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Freezing time: overnight - two months
Baking time: 90 minutes
Serves 16 in smallish servings for a big dinner
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, caps broken into pieces, stems roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (don’t skimp on these)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1-1/2 cups chicken stock or boullion
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1-1/2 cups cream
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed
- 2 pounds fresh green beans, stems trimmed, broken into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup panko
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups (about 3 ounces) canned fried onions, chopped
SAUCE In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter on medium heat til melted. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are cooked and the mushroom liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about a minute. Sprinkle the mushrooms with flour and stir in as best you can. A tablespoon at a time, stir in the chicken stock, letting each tablespoon become absorbed before adding another. (This will take several minutes, be patient or you’ll risk a lumpy mess.) Stir in the wine and cream. Bring to a boil. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sherry. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper, if needed. (It should be slightly salty and slightly peppery since the beans themselves are unseasoned.)
BEANS While the sauce cooks, toss the beans and cornstarch well. Transfer to a 9x13 ceramic baking dish. Pour hot mushroom sauce over top. Gently press beans into the sauce so that all the beans are submerged. Cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure there’s no air between the beans and the plastic. Wrap with foil. Freeze. Do not thaw before baking.
TOPPING No more than a day before, mix the panko, butter, salt and pepper in a skillet. On medium heat, let the crumbs brown, stirring often, being careful not to burn. Stir in the fried onions.
BAKING Preheat oven to 400F. IMPORTANT: remove plastic wrap from casserole, then replace the foil. Bake for 30 minutes, stir, leave the foil off and bake for another 50 minutes. (If the sauce is too thin, leave in oven, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until it thickens.) Spread topping over the casserole, bake for another 10 minutes until golden.
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