You wouldn’t think there would be too much that you can actually do to change up this holiday classic, so when I noticed Alton Brown’s recipe for green bean casserole I had to check out what makes it so different from the classic you see on holiday tables each year. The biggest difference really is that everything is made from scratch. No canned fried onions, no cream of mushroom soup, no canned french green beans. I have nothing against the traditional way many people make this dish, but for me personally if you can use all fresh ingredients without preservatives and such that go into canned products, you are much better off and the taste will be a lot better. I made this dish for our Christmas meal and it was well worth the extra effort to put into it.
Alton Brown’s Best Ever Green Bean Casserole
For the topping:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Nonstick cooking spray
For the beans and sauce:
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons butter
12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the onions, flour, panko bread crumbs, and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until they are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 or 3 times during the cooking process to ensure they brown evenly. Once they are done, remove the onions from the oven and set them aside so that they are ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees.
While the onions are cooking, prepare the green beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the green beans and blanch the beans for 5 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the beans and set them aside.
Melt the butter in a large cast-iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to release some of their liquid, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook the mixture for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the casserole is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and serve.
I have tried different recipes for this casserole before, but I think this one had the freshest taste of any I have made. I have never been a big fan of the canned condensed soups, so I was glad for the fresh mushrooms and half-and-half. I think this recipe had much better flavor than any others i have tried and it was definitely worth a little extra effort. Making your onions was quick and easy and they tasted great. The onions would be ideal just for burgers, let alone this casserole. I will definitely make this again, and not just for holiday meals.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!