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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not yo' Mama's Green Bean Casserole

French Green Bean and Wild Mushroom Casserole
Just in time for the holiday, it's time to re-think yo' momma's green bean casserole. Sure, it's super easy to open a few cans and put that hot mess in the oven. Let's take this traditional casserole to new heights with Haricots Verts, an assortment of beautiful wild mushrooms, shallots, and really yummy, creamy sauce.
Let's start with the beans. In the grocery store, or your  favorite big box giant, like Costco or Sam's, are these little French green beans, called haricots verts. (Pronounced "arico ver", like "very"). These gems are packaged in cellophane and ready to use. No prep needed. Just make sure to check the expiration date and look at the beans to ensure freshness. 
First, bring a big pot of salty water (we need to season every step of the way), to a rolling boil. Carefully add the beans to the boiling water. After the beans are in the pot, make a shock pot. Ice; water; Kosher salt (one real good pinch).
When the beans are bright green, fetch one out and taste it. If it's too tough, keep on boiling. We're going for crisp/tender here, not fibrous tough; not mushy mush. When tender to your liking, fish them out with a large spider. (Not the furry eight legged kind, just so you know).
Then plunge them directly into your shock pot.

Give them a stir. Then leave them alone in the icy bath.
When cool, drain them on a stack of paper towels.
Let's talk mushrooms. I kinda like some of the fancy schmancy shrooms out there, so I went with 1 pound total of oysters, cremini (baby portabellas), and Shitake. If you don't like or can't find the above, just slice up a pound of white button mushrooms. They'll be just fine.
Chop them up.
In a large skillet, (I like cast iron), heat up 1 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter.
When the skillet is hot, add the mushrooms, 2 large shallots (or 1/4 chopped red onion), a good pinch of Kosher salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Don't touch them, don't stir them until they have enough time to brown on the skillet side down. Then, you should stir them around. Not before. Thank you.
Saute the mushrooms until beautifully brown and caramelized. Throw in 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/4 tsp nutmeg while the mushrooms are getting really happy.
Add 2 Tbsp all purpose flour (I use whole wheat).

And whisk it up. We need to cook out the raw flour flavor without burning it. Cook for about 3 minutes on medium to medium high heat.
Whisk in 1 quart chicken stock. I used home made, but, box-o-stock will be just fine.
Throw in a few sprigs of fresh thyme tied up in a bundle, and just let it ride.

When smooth and thick, stir in 1/2 cup light sour cream. This is one of those dishes that you can go light and not sacrifice flavor. Fish out the thyme bundle.
Put your beans back in the skillet with the mushrooms. Fold it all together.
Grate up some parmigiano reggiano right over the top.

 Place in an oven safe casserole dish. Top with a big handful of French's French Fried Onions.

 Place in an oven safe casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until bubbly and golden.
 If you really want to go for the gusto, you could slice up some shallot rings, dunk them in seasoned flour, then fry them in oil until crisp, and top the casserole with that. Too much work and mess for me. French's work just fine.
Thank your Grandmama and mama for introducing you to a tasty holiday tradition. Then make it better.

Recipe
  • 1 1/2 pounds Haricots Verts, (If not available, use fresh green beans, trimmed and de-strung)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound mixed gourmet mushrooms, such as shiitakes, creminis and oyster, cleaned and quartered
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, tied up in a bundle
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 big handful French fried onions
Method:
  1. Bring a big pot of salty water to a rolling boil. Carefully add the beans to the boiling water. 
  2. After the beans are in the pot, make a shock pot. Ice & water, & Kosher salt.
  3. Cook to desired tenderness.
  4. Plunge them directly into the shock pot.
  5. When cool, drain them on a stack of paper towels.
  6.  1 pound total mushrooms: oysters, cremini (baby portabellas), and Shitake. Chopped.
  7. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter.
  8. When the skillet is hot, add the mushrooms, 2 large shallots (or 1/4 chopped red onion), Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  9. Saute' the mushrooms until brown and caramelized. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/4 tsp nutmeg while the mushrooms are browning.
  10. Add 2 Tbspb all purpose flour to the mushrooms. Whisk and cook about 3 minutes.
  11. Whisk in 1 quart chicken stock.
  12. When smooth and thick, stir in 1/2 cup light sour cream.
  13. Remove thyme bundle.
  14. Put beans back in the skillet with the mushrooms. Fold it all together.
  15. Grate 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano over the top.
  16.  Place in an oven safe casserole dish. Top with a big handful of French's French Fried Onions.
  17.  Place in an oven safe casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until bubbly and golden.







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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.