The traditional green bean casserole is a casserole classic and a great example of "dump method" cooking—simply dump a bag of frozen beans in a casserole dish, dump in a can of cream of mushroom soup, dump a can of fried onions on top, and bake. It's certainly not elegant, requires no more skill than operating a can opener.
We thought this classic casserole would be a great way to get started on our week of casserole cooking from Faith Durand's Not Your Mother's Casseroles. Instead of cans, this recipe calls for fresh ingredients—green beans, mushrooms (both fresh white ones and dried wild mushrooms), shallots, and chicken stock. Sure, it requires a little more time than the gloopy, canned original but the butter-sautéed mushrooms, sweet fried shallots, and still-snappy green beans make it worth it.
Trying out this recipes at home immediately had me thinking about Adam's 7-Layer Dip Showdown, wondering if it was worth all of the extra time and effort to replicate something that was created to be a quick and easy, can-based recipe.
But in the end, results were almost identical to the 7-Layer Dip Showdown, the made from scratch Green Bean and Wild Mushroom Casserole with Shallot Topping trumped the Campbell's version.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Not Your Mother's Casseroles to give away this week.
Adapted from Not Your Mother's Casseroles. Copyright © 2011. Published by Harvard Common Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- 1 1⁄2 pounds fresh or frozen green beans
- 1⁄2 ounce dried wild mushrooms
- 1⁄2 cup boiling water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 pound white mushrooms, diced
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 3⁄4 cup milk
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10 large shallots
- Vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the baking dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray. If using fresh green beans, trim them of their stems. If using frozen, thaw them and drain off any excess water.
Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over them; let steep to rehydrate.
In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it foams, add the white mushrooms, spreading them in an even layer. Do not stir or move the mushrooms for 3 to 4 minutes; let them brown. Then toss the mushrooms and cook thoroughly on the other side.
Drain the wild mushrooms, reserving the steeping liquid in the bowl. Add the wild mushrooms to the skillet with the other mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 more minutes.
Add the flour to the mushrooms and stir to coat the mushrooms. Add the mushroom steeping liquid and chicken broth and whisk the liquid to break up any clumps. Stir in the milk and cook, stirring and whisking alternately, until the liquid is slightly thickened.
Take the mushrooms off the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and green beans. Spread in the prepared casserole dish. (At this point the casserole can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Peel and finely slice the shallots. Thoroughly wipe out or wash the skillet and heat about 1⁄2 inch of vegetable oil in it over high heat. When it is quite hot but not yet smoking, add the shallots in a thin, even layer. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Stir occasionally if necessary to keep the shallots from burning or sticking together.
Remove the shallots from the oil with a slotted spoon and stir half of them into the green bean casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Spread the remaining fried shallots on top of the green bean casserole. Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until the topping is crispy. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.