I’m sure everyone is familiar with good old fashioned green bean casserole. The one with canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French’s green onions, you know the one. Well this one is much much better. Don’t get me wrong, I still secretly like the classic one, but this one is just slightly more impressive. I swapped out the canned green beans for fresh ones, made a mushroom cream sauce, and topped it with panko crusted caramelized onions. Make this, you’ll thank me, and everyone will think you are fancy.
1 lb green beans, trimmed (frozen or fresh, NO cans)
8 oz mushrooms (about 10 mushrooms, I used crimini, shitake, and white button)
1 Tbs fresh thyme (dried is fine, but use 1 1/2 tsp)
1 ½ Tbs olive oil, divided
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk (low fat or any kind will work)
1 tsp Worchestershire
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 Tbs butter or olive oil for caramelizing onions
1 medium sized yellow onion
½ -3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Caramelize the onions first so that they are ready for the topping. Thinly slice onions, then melt one Tbs butter or 1 Tbs of olive oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet or dutch oven. Add the onions and toss to coat in the butter or oil. Let the onions cook for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. You want to make sure none of them stick to the bottom so add more butter or oil if needed.
This is a slow process that brings out the natural sugars in the onion, there is no way to speed it up, be patient or you will be sorry. Once the onions are caramelized, put them in a bowl and set aside to cool.
Next cook the green beans. The method is about the same for either fresh or frozen green beans. Place about 1 ½ inches of water in the bottom of a large sauce pan, add the beans. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes or until the beans are tender. You want the beans to still be crisp since they will cook more in the casserole. Drain and set aside
Thinly slice the mushrooms. Warm ½ Tbs of the olive oil in a large non stick skillet. Saute the mushrooms and the thyme until the mushrooms are soft and browned. Add the other Tbs of olive oil and toss with the mushrooms. Add the ¼ cup of flour and mix until all the oil has been absorbed into the flour, cook for an additional minute. Add 1 cup of milk and whisk until a thick sauce has formed. Whisk in salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Taste sauce, and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Toss the sauce with the green beans and put the mixture in a casserole dish (anything it fits in is fine- 9X9 dish, round dish, whatever). Toss the caramelized onions with the panko breading, ensure that each onion is lightly coated, add more panko breading if needed. Cover the top of the green bean/sauce mixture with the caramelized onions and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and the top is lightly browned.
Mmmm. Happy almost Thanksgiving!