Why It Works
- Using blanched fresh green beans instead of canned or frozen yields a brighter color and a crisp-tender texture.
- A homemade mushroom sauce, made with butter, cream, chicken stock, and a touch of soy sauce, lends the casserole extra nutty and savory flavors.
- Homemade fried shallots are crisper and more flavorful than canned French-fried onions, and they're a great condiment to keep on hand for all sorts of dishes.
The classic Campbell's green bean casserole is a staple on many Thanksgiving tables. But there are easy ways to upgrade the out-of-the-can version. If you're intimidated by the length and number of steps in this recipe, bear in mind that you don't need to use the whole thing—try canned fried onions instead of frying your own, for instance. Or, to make it even easier, stick with two cans of cream of mushroom soup instead of making your own creamy mushroom sauce.
How to Scale Down This Recipe to Feed a Smaller Crowd
This recipe can be scaled down by half. To do it: Divide all ingredients by two; substitute a 10-inch skillet for the baking dish listed.
- 1 pound (450g) shallots, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick on a mandoline
- 2 cups (480ml) canola oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds (675g) white button mushrooms, rinsed and spun dry in a salad spinner
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 2 cups (480ml) low-sodium store-bought or homemade chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons (30g) butter
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated on a Microplane grater
- 1/4 cup (30g) flour
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds (900g) green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch segments
Combine shallots and oil in a wok or medium nonstick saucepan. Shallots should barely stick out above level of oil. Place over high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are completely soft, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with 6 layers of paper towels. Continue to cook shallots, stirring constantly, until shallots are light golden brown, about 8 minutes.
Immediately strain through a fine-mesh strainer set in a heat-proof bowl or saucepan. Set shallot oil aside. You should have about 2 cups of fried shallots.
Transfer fried shallots to paper towels. Lift up one end of top paper towel and roll shallots off onto second. Blot with first towel to absorb excess oil. Repeat 4 more times, transferring shallots from one paper towel to the next, until only one paper towel remains. Season well with salt.
Allow shallots to cool completely, about 45 minutes. Once they've cooled, transfer to a sealed airtight container. Shallots can be made up to 1 month in advance.
Smash mushrooms under the bottom of a large skillet until broken into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces. Roughly chop into pieces approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch in size. Set aside.
Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, chicken stock, and heavy cream in a 1-quart liquid measuring cup or medium bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons (30ml) reserved shallot oil (save remainder in an airtight container for another use) and butter to a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Heat over high heat until butter is melted and foaming subsides. Add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms begin to sizzle, 6 to 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-high. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden blond, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, add stock and cream mixture.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until mixture achieves a texture between pancake batter and heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Bring 1 gallon (3.8L) water and 1/4 cup (48g) kosher salt to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with 1 quart ice cubes and 2 quarts (1.9L) water.
Add green beans to water and boil until tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain through a colander set over the sink and immediately transfer to ice water until completely cooled. Drain green beans and set aside.
Combine green beans, mushroom sauce, and 1 cup fried shallots. Transfer to a 9- by 13-inch rectangular baking dish or a 10- by 14-inch oval baking dish. Bake until hot and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Top with remaining cup fried shallots and serve.
You can use canned fried onions or shallots instead of making your own in steps 1 and 2. For better results, look for fried shallots in a Thai or Vietnamese market—but French's will do just fine if that's what you prefer. Slice the shallots on a plastic mandoline (like a Benriner) to get even results. The oil used to fry the shallots can be saved in an airtight container, away from the light, for up to 3 months. Use it for stir-fries or in salad dressings.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Fried shallots can be made up to 1 month in advance and stored in an airtight container. Mushroom sauce can be made up to 4 days in advance. Assembled casserole can be made and stored up to 2 days in the refrigerator. To complete, cover with foil and heat in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven until hot, about 30 minutes. Uncover and cook until bubbly, about 10 minutes longer. Top with 1 cup additional fried shallots and serve.