The magic of this green bean casserole comes from making your own cream of mushroom soup, which is really a super-mushroomy, creamy, thick sauce that turns into a rich, flavorful coating for perfectly-cooked fresh green beans in the oven. Use as many fried onions as feels right to you—they’re one of the most important parts of this dish!
Creamy Mushroom “Soup”
- 9tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds baby Bella mushrooms, unwashed
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2shallots, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Green Bean Casserole
- 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
- fried onions (such as French’s), to taste
How to Make It
Prepare your mushrooms: Do not wash your mushrooms —they’ll absorb a small amount of water and will have a harder time crisping up. Brush any stray dirt off with a paper towel, then proceed. Cut the mushrooms in half though the stem, then cut the halves into 1/4 inch slices. Thinly slice those pieces into matchsticks. (This is a good place to employ the help of a family member or enthusiastic child.)
Heat a large skillet over high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add about a third of the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes. Stir thoroughly, then continue cooking until the liquid released by the mushrooms is mostly cooked off, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring every minute or so, until mushrooms are very golden brown and crispy. Remove from skillet and set aside in a medium bowl. Repeat with remaining mushrooms, starting with 2 tablespoons of oil each time. When the final batch of mushrooms is finished cooking and set aside in bowl, stir 1 teaspoon of the salt into the mushrooms.
Rinse skillet, then place over medium heat and add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and butter. When butter has melted, add shallots and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and very tender, about 8 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has cooked off. Add flour and black pepper, and stir constantly until a paste forms and leaves a film on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1 cup water. Whisk until there are no more chunks of paste, then add cream, milk and remaining 2 teaspoons of the salt. Stir together, then add mushrooms to the mixture. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid thickens to the point where a spatula dragged across the middle of the pan leaves a trail that takes a few seconds to fill in, about 2-4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preferences, adding a little more salt and pepper if you’d like.
At this point, the mushroom “soup” can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 24 hours, or frozen for up to a month. To defrost, let sit at room temperature for 8 hours, or refrigerate until liquid.
To prepare the casserole: Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. When water is boiling, fill a large bowl with ice and water and set near the stove. Add green beans to boiling water, and stir. Cook for 30 seconds, then remove green beans using a large slotted spoon or spider and transfer directly to the bowl of ice water. Stir green beans and leave them in cold water for about 2 minutes, or until completely chilled. Drain.
At this point, the beans can be sealed up and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. There’s no need to bring them to room temperature before you proceed.
When you’re ready to assemble the casserole, preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, stir together green beans and 2/3 of the mushroom mixture, coating the green beans. Transfer to an 8×8 baking dish and spread remaining mushroom mixture on top. Sprinkle with about 1 cup of fried onions (or more) and bake 40-50 minutes, or until top is golden-brown and the casserole is bubbling vigorously around the edges and gently in the middle. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
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