You all know I’m a fool for side dishes, I’ve made that very clear. And Denise’s reinvention of a classic warms my heart (and belly) as Turkey Day approaches – just a couple days left! We’d love to hear how you’ve made one of Mom’s (or Grandma’s or Dad’s) holiday staples into an updated version of your own. -Maggie
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I am all about the sides. I wouldn’t mind if the turkey forgot to show up, and frankly, I would rather have a sizeable plate of mashed potatoes smothered with butter and gravy, than a slice of turkey, any old day!
When I am not the one preparing Thanksgiving dinner, I spend the day anticipating what the sides will be. Mashed potatoes or baked? Sweet potatoes with or without marshmallows (I prefer without)? Savory or sweet cranberry dish? Brussels sprouts or green beans? Bonus if there are both! When I am the one preparing the meal, I plan all the extras even before contemplating what to do with Mr. Turkey.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes has always been the green bean casserole. I love the salty mushroom soup that wraps it’s arms around each tender bean. And the crispy onion topping takes me over the edge. Salty, creamy and crispy: three of my favorite taste sensations all hanging out together.
This recipe in particular takes ordinary to extraordinary by using a homemade mushroom cream sauce instead of a canned version. It takes a little extra time, but I promise it is well worth the effort. I made the topping out of crispy shallots mixed with panko and butter. I don’t blanch the beans beforehand; instead I let them simmer in the oven with the creamy mushroom sauce. The result is a slightly crisp and not overcooked dish that is still salty, creamy and full of crispy deliciousness!
Homemade Green Bean Casserole
- 1 pound of fresh green beans
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 pound cremini or white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (cremini will make the sauce a bit brown, which I don’t mind, but some do)
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
- 1 1/2 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs
- 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- Clean the green beans by snapping off the stem end and washing with cold water. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, add the shallot and garlic. Stir. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and thyme, cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Put half of the stock mixture along with 1/4 of the mushrooms into a food processor or blender add the half and half and flour. Give it a couple whirls until the mushrooms are broken up and the mixture is fairly lump free. Pour the pureed soup back into the saucepan with the rest of the stock/mushroom mixture. Stir in 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots. Cook until golden brown and crispy. This will take about 8 minutes, and you must stir often to prevent burning and sticking. Once the shallots are golden brown add the panko, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl combine the green beans with the mushroom cream sauce. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle the shallot mixture over the top. Bake for 30 minutes until the mixture is bubbly, and the panko is golden brown.
- Serve. Eat. Enjoy.
All photos styled and taken by Denise Woodward.
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