homemade, de-processed green bean casserole

I know…I know.

Another creamy vegetable recipe.  I love steamed, grilled vegetables as much as the next person, but I happened to catch the episode where Alton Brown made this and it looked incredibly tasty.  I do like a lot of Alton’s recipes, but he is a little (ahem) winded sometimes in his lengthy descriptions of the scientific processes of cooking.  Let’s just throw it together and see how it turns out, shall we?  Although, perhaps that’s how I get into these situations…

The traditional American Thanksgiving recipe which contains (in case you’ve been living under a rock, or maybe a different country…I’m not judging) cream of mushroom soup and canned french fried onions, always seemed to me like such a salty disservice to the green beans.  But maybe not, since the green beans come from a can, too.  Think about it-the entire recipe is made from canned ingredients!  Here was Alton on my television, making an alternative to this soupy, salty casserole that looked positively fresh and tasty.

This recipe called for three ingredients that were in the farm box this week:  vidalia onions, baby portobello mushrooms, and green beans.  I served it alongside fingerling potatoes and coffee braised short ribs (also from one of the farms in the co-op)…a somewhat heavy meal for a warmer fall day, but absolutely delicious paired with a Pinot Noir we brought back with us from Oregon.  If you would like the recipe for the short ribs, leave a comment and I will post it.


best ever green bean casserole (Alton Brown)

Topping:

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp panko bread crumbs

1 tsp kosher salt

all natural nonstick cooking spray

For beans and sauce:

2 Tsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 pound fresh green beans, washed, trimmed and halved

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

12 ounces mushrooms (I used baby portobellos, but button or cremini would do nicely too), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup half-and-half

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Combine onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.  Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Spread onions evenly on the pan.  Place pan in middle rack of oven and bake until onions are golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.  Be sure to toss the onions 2 or 3 times during cooking.  When done, remove from oven and set aside.

Turn oven temperature down to 400 degrees.

Prepare beans while the onions are baking.  Bring a gallon of water and 2 Tbsp of salt to a boil in a large stockpot or saucepan.  Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes.  Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking.  This keeps them from getting soggy.

Melt the butter in a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, 1 tsp salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for 1 minute.  Add the broth and simmer for another minute.  Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half.  Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove form the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans.  Top with the remaining onions.  Place in the oven until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes.  Remove and serve immediately.

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