Green bean casserole: Beloved Thanksgiving tradition or sad, bland waste of space on your overflowing plate?
We in the test kitchen think this traditional and often divisive dish deserves its due, so after quite a few trials, we’ve finally come up with possibly the best homemade green bean casserole you’re likely to come across this November.
From the sauce to the skillet, here’s how we’re upgrading our green bean casserole game this holiday season.
Fresh ingredients make all the difference in our Green Bean Casserole 2.0. We swap the traditional canned beans for fresh specimens, cut small like the classic and blanched until tender for pleasant texture and color.
THE CREAM OF MUSHROOM
Here, we opt for a homemade mushroom sauce rather than canned cream of mushroom soup, which always seems to be either too salty or disappointingly bland and gloppy. Browning fresh mushrooms adds umami and texture, and making a smooth, creamy sauce from stock, half and half, butter, and flour tastes so much better than the can. A splash of sherry vinegar adds a bright touch.
To make it even more indulgent, we made sure to simmer up double the amount of sauce used in a typical recipe. You’re welcome.
THE FRIED ONIONS
Again, fresh ingredients are key. While we certainly aren’t going to knock canned fried onions, freshly fried specimens are definitely more flavorful. A light sprinkling of rice flour ensures a thin, crisp crust reminiscent of the canned stuff, but so much better.
THE SERVING VESSEL
Instead of removing the finished product to a casserole dish and reducing it to a mushy mess, we prefer to cook and serve right in a large cast iron skillet. It’s simple, classic, and makes cleanup a whole lot easier.
Is this more work than a traditional recipe? Sure is. It worth it? Sure is.
You can even lighten the Thanksgiving Day workload by making each of the components (beans, mushroom sauce, and fried onions) ahead of time, store them separately, then assemble and bake the final dish just before dinner.
Hungry yet? Try this new and improved Thanksgiving side dish for yourself: