Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Growing up, green bean casserole was the dish that made Thanksgiving dinner special for me. When I left home I’d even make it up for myself when I needed a little comfort food. But as I got older and my tastes grew beyond canned soup, a little of the luster got knocked off my favorite dish. Frozen green beans and cream of mushroom soup just don’t hold the same interest for me now that I know what I’m doing in the kitchen, so I started making a grown up version of my home cooked favorite.

Green Bean Casserole

3 pounds green beans
salt and pepper
1 T butter
1 loaf good bread
3 T fresh chopped herbs (chives and thyme are my favorite)
4 T Parmesan cheese, shredded
5 T olive oil
2 pounds mushrooms
3 shallots, diced
1 T fresh chopped thyme
1 T fresh chopped chives
2 C heavy cream
4 T butter
4T flour

In a large pot of heavily salted water, boil the green beans until tender. I like my green beans mushy, but boil them until they’re just under cooked for how you like them. Drain.

Tear the bread into bite sized chunks and toss with the fresh herbs, cheese, and 3 T of the olive oil. When mixed, spread onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375 until toasted.

Melt the rest of the olive oil and 1 T of butter into a skillet, and add the mushrooms and shallots with a little salt and pepper. Cook until the shallots are translucent.

To make the sauce, make a roux by melting the 4 T of butter and adding the flour to it, stirring thoroughly. When combined, add heavy cream, the remaining herbs, and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper as necessary. Toss the sauce with the vegetables and spread in a baking dish. Top with the croutons and bake for 20 minutes.

Topping with croutons instead of fried onions gives a lot more crunch to this dish, which is a nice change when the rest of it is so delightfully mushy, and the shallots sauteed with the mushrooms still add that oniony savor. This dish will push out the green bean casserole from your childhood and replace it with something fresh, yummy, and grown up.