Green Bean Casserole
Ah, the classic Green Bean Casserole. As a kid, I absolutely hated it. Once I got older, I learned to appreciate it. Once I started to cook, I learned to love it.
I think anyone who’s ever made a Thanksgiving meal is familiar with the famous condensed-soup version of this recipe, but making this from scratch tastes so much better! And, of course, it’s also better for you. I’ve tried a few different recipes for this over the last couple years, but this year I decided to try my hand at making my own version.
Just to be really fancy schmancy I used shallots instead of onions, and a mixture of chanterelle and cremini mushrooms. You can use whatever wild mushrooms you can get your hands on, and if all you have is an onion, you can certainly use that too.
The version pictured was a test run, so for the actual recipe I’ve scaled it up to serve more people. I had a little too much sauce for the amount of beans and mushrooms I used, but I think the proportions below should be better. I also think that when I make this again, I’ll add half a bouillon cube and melt it into the butter for the sauce, just to add even more flavor. (I’ve added this to the recipe) If there are any other changes that I come across when I make it next week, I’ll be sure to add an update.
Green Bean Casserole
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 Tablespoons non-dairy margarine, divided
8 ounces mixed wild mushrooms, chopped
2 huge, or 4 smaller shallots (you could also use a small onion)
1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 (or enough for 1 cup of water) vegetable bouillon cube
1/4 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 Cups non-dairy milk (unsweetened)
salt and pepper to taste
about 1 – 2 cups fried onion pieces (I use Trader Joe’s)
Set up a steamer basket and steam the green beans until they are cooked through. Set aside.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of the margarine over medium heat in a medium sized, deep skillet. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt, and saute for a few minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute or so. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat with the margarine. Let them cook for a while, stirring only occasionally so that they take on some color. Once they’ve released their moisture and are caramelized, remove the mixture from the pan, and set it aside.
Melt the remaining 3 Tablespoons margarine and the bouillon cube in the same pan you used for the mushrooms. Whisk in the flour to make a roux. Keep whisking the roux until it’s bubbly and smooth. Slowly whisk in the non-dairy milk, and continue to stir to avoid lumps. Cook the sauce until it bubbles and thickens. You don’t have to stir constantly, but be diligent about checking it, because it can burn if you’re not careful.
Once the sauce is thickened, check it for seasoning and add salt and pepper. Mine was pretty bland at this point, which is why I think the bouillon cube will help. You’ll need to adjust your seasoning depending on how salty your bouillon is. Alternatively, you could substitute vegetable broth for some of the non-dairy milk.
Add the mushroom mixture and beans to the sauce, and give it a good stir. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart or 8 x 11 casserole dish, and sprinkle the fried onion pieces over the top. The amount you need will depend on your dish – you basically want a good coating over the whole top.
Since everything is already cooked, you don’t technically need to bake this, but you can certainly keep it warm in the oven. If your sauce is a little thin, you can thicken it up in the oven as well. You can make this ahead of time and throw in it in the fridge, and then heat it in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or so, or until heated through.
UPDATE: I adjusted the amount of mushrooms after making this again – I think 8 oz works better than a pound since the main focus should be the green beans. The bouillon cube worked great for flavoring the sauce, but again, different brands have different salt contents so be sure to check for seasoning. I also changed the dish size from 9 x 13 to 8 x 11, which is pictured above. The adjusted amounts fill the dish perfectly.