The green bean casserole was concocted in 1955 by Campbell’s Kitchen head Dorcas Reilly. The recipe, which originally called for four cups of cooked, cut green beans, one can of cream of mushroom soup, some milk, some soy sauce, a dash of pepper and a canned French-fried onion, landed Reilly a spot in the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002.
I’m not trying to reinvent this classic yet again, I’m just trying to make it even…classic-er while making it taste more like the stuff that’s supposed to be in it rather than commercial emulsifiers and salt. By the way, the casserole can be assembled up to a day ahead. Just leave off the top onions until you’re ready to bake and bring the casserole out of the fridge about an hour before hitting the oven. This can be a good thing when facing holiday hecticness.
Green Bean Casserole 2.0
FOR THE TOPPING
- 2 large yellow onions (thinly sliced on a mandolin or other slicer)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons Japanese (panko bread crumbs)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
FOR BEANS AND SAUCE
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 pound fresh green beans (rinsed, trimmed and quartered)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 ounces button mushrooms (white or brown)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F and position a rack right in the middle.
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Season with the tablespoon of salt.
- Pulse the flour, panko and salt in food processor 5-6 times to break up the panko a bit.
- Toss the flour mixture with the onions and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Liberally lubricate a medium cookie pan with no-stick spray* and evenly distribute the onions on it.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, tossing/stirring every 5 to maintain evenness. Remove to paper towels and cool.
- While the onions are cooking, blanch the beans by boiling them for 5 minutes (or until barely crisp), draining, and then rinsing in plenty of cold water. I do this in the basket of my salad spinner so that I can spin the beans dry.
- Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat. When melted, add the mushrooms, teaspoon of salt and pepper and cook stirring frequently 4-5 minutes or until the mushrooms start to brown and give up their liquid. I use a flat-edged wooden spatula for this and you’ll see why a couple items down.
- Add the garlic and nutmeg and stir for 1 minute.
- Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and cook, stirring for another minute.
- Stir in the broth. Odds are there will be a lot of hissing. That’s because you’re also de-glazing the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan with the spatula to loosen any bits and pieces.
- One minute later add the half-and-half. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to medium low and cook until thick, around 6 minutes. Remove from the heat
- Stir in half of the onion mixture, top with the remainder and bake until bubbly and brown, 15-20 minutes.
*I use a pan called a “quarter sheet pan” that measures 9×12 with a sloped 1-inch lip.