No Thanksgiving table is complete without the classic green bean casserole. Sometimes there can even be several of them battling for table space at larger gatherings. Just what is it that makes Thanksgiving incomplete without at least one Pyrex dish of these creamy green beans?
And really, what is there NOT to love? Those deliciously evil fried onions so tempting to just eat right out of the can; the creamy, rich mushroom soup; and yet still, it had never been enough for me to get over those green beans they are trying so hard to disguise.
Honestly, I really don’t “do” green beans. I’d never fully been able to jump on the green bean bandwagon. It’s why I’ve never understood the love for the green bean casserole.
Until this year, when I broke down and bought three pounds of the most beautiful green beans at the farmer’s market. After a few months of learning to love this stringy bean, I decided I’d make my own green bean casserole.
One of the problems I found with the recipe was how fattening it was. Even though I knew I couldn’t stray from the crispy fried onion topping, I knew I could change a few things out for a much healthier from-scratch version.
One thing I dropped immediately from the traditional recipe was any premade canned items. No canned cream of mushroom. No canned green beans. And yes, no canned fried onions.
Instead, I created a lighter “cream of mushroom” and made my own fried onions. For the green beans, I bought just a little over a pound of fresh ones, snipped and clipped and roasted them with a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Once blended, baked and fresh out of the oven, this mysterious dish finally made sense to me after all these years with the first bite.
Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Makes 10 to 12 servings
One large yellow onion
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sea salt
½ cup canola oil
2 tbsp. salt
1 pound fresh green beans
¼ cup olive oil
Cream of mushroom:
1 pound of baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean and quartered
5 cloves garlic, finely diced
3 tbs. of olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. fresh ground pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups of Chardonnay
1 cup of skim milk
Start with making your fried onions first. Heat a saucepan to medium high and add the canola oil.
While this is heating up, thinly slice your onion– as thin as you can get it– then chop slices into pieces about one inch long.
Toss onions in the flour with the salt and pepper.
Once the oil heats up, place small batches of the breaded onions into the oil and fry until crispy and brown.
Set aside on a plate with a paper towel to cool.
Wash beans and snip ends, then cut in half.
Toss beans in olive oil and lay out on parchment-lined baking pans.
Sprinkle with salt and roast in oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until beans start to brown.
Take out of oven and let cool.
Cream of Mushroom:
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and garlic.
Little by little begin to shake in the flour, creating a roux. When the mixture begins to thicken, add in the wine, whisking to incorporate.
Keep sifting in flour and adding wine, alternating between the two until it begins to thicken.
Bring to a low boil and slowly being adding in the skim milk, stirring constantly.
Cook on medium-low heat, letting the mixture thicken, for about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes
In a large bowl, mix cream of mushroom and roasted green beans well, then transfer to a greased 9 x 13 oven-safe baking dish. Cover with your fried onions and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until your casserole begins to bubble.
Remove from the oven and serve warm.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and appeared on “The Best Of...” in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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