The traditional version of this truly American casserole relies heavily on convenience foods, like frozen green beans and cans of cream of mushroom soup. My updated version of this holiday classic uses fresh ingredients in a rich, mushroom-charged béchamel sauce that gives this sensational side dish the creaminess you expect and the fried onion topping satisfies the crunch we crave.
The Stock Pot: Sensational Sides – Fresh Green Bean Casserole
- unsalted butter, for the baking dish
- 1-1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup diced shallots
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1-1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
- 1 cup French fried onions
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a deep 2-1/2-quart casserole dish and set aside. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until tender-crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms give off their juices and begin to brown, about 6 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute to cook off the raw flour taste. Slowly whisk in the half and half, stock and soy sauce; add in the bay leaf, nutmeg and cayenne pepper and stir until combined. Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings; stir in the green beans.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Bake until the casserole is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Scatter over the onions and serve.
Planning: You can make this one day ahead (up to the point of baking it); cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and bake as directed.
Product Purity: I use all-natural Kitchen Basics chicken stock and lower sodium soy sauce (both made without added MSG).