Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Green Bean Casserole

I'll be honest. The thought of the traditional green bean casserole turns my stomach. Lifeless, canned green beans with salty, fake onion thingies on top? No thanks.

I recently had some fresh green beans, and wanted to do something special with them. Something saucy!
I made my own casserole based on this recipe for Green Bean Casserole Redux at And boy oh boy, was it ever good!

Like everything, I just eyeballed it. I used what I had on hand, which was a handful of green beans, enoki mushrooms, powdered garlic & thyme, and onions instead of shallots. No biggie, still delicious! I also used individual bowls to bake it in.

Green Bean Casserole Redux

* Béchamel Sauce (warmed)
[Vegan Ronin's Béchamel Recipe]
* 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/2 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 teaspoons minced thyme leaves
* 5 medium shallots, sliced (about 1 1/3 cups)
* 3/4 cup flour for dusting shallots
* 2 cups vegetable oil for frying

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until bright green and just tender, about 6 minutes; drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cold. Set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot and shimmering, add mushrooms and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are brown on edges, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.

3. Combine green beans, mushroom mixture, béchamel sauce, and thyme in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer into a 2-1/2-quart baking dish and set aside.

4. Dust sliced shallots in flour and shake off excess. Set aside.

5. Pour vegetable oil into a large 10-inch frying pan (should be 1 inch deep). Heat over medium-high heat to 350°F, about 4 minutes.

6. Fry shallots in batches, until light golden brown on edges, about 2 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

7. Top casserole with fried shallots and bake in oven until shallots are golden and crispy and casserole is bubbly and heated through, about 12 to 15 minutes.