Sunday, October 31, 2010

Green bean casserole recipe, the fresh way (almost)

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I'm sensitive to Thanksgiving traditions. We normally have Thanksgiving with my husband's extended family, and every other year (more or less) it's at our house. A few years back when we hosted, we invited some friends to join us, a young couple living far away from their East coast families. I asked if there were any foods they really needed to make it feel like Thanksgiving at home. Scalloped oysters, they said. I had never made oysters before and was quite relieved to find them pre-shucked at a local fish market. My Hungarian in-laws were puzzled when the oysters appeared on the table, but our friends told me later how much they appreciated the gesture.

I think everyone has must-have foods at Thanksgiving. Personally, my Thanksgiving is incomplete without green bean casserole. I prefer the original (dare I say authentic? authoritative?) version made only with frozen Frenched green beans, full-fat Campbell's condensed cream of mushroom soup, and those naughty canned fried onions from the grocery store.

But in a nod to the modern foodie I've become, I made this version of green bean casserole last year with fresh green beans, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. Some things remain the same: I still use canned condensed soup and fried onions, although I seek out the trans-fat-free onions from Trader Joe's. But that's just me. If you prefer to make your own mushroom cream sauce, feel free. I'm sure it will be delicious. Just make sure it's on the thick side or the casserole will be too runny. You want it to feel a little tiny bit like glue in your mouth. That's the way it's supposed to turn out.

Fresh green bean casserole
  • 2 lbs fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups sliced mushrooms, any kind
  • 2 cans low-fat or fat-free concentrated cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup canned french fried onions (try Trader Joe's no-trans-fats product)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat or fat-free milk
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the green beans and blanch them 4-5 minutes, until the beans are softening but have not turned mushy. Drain and place the beans in a large mixing bowl.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the onions and mushrooms until they are softened and golden brown. Add the vegetables to the green beans in the bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To the mixing bowl, add the cream of mushroom soup, fried onions, milk, and lots of pepper. (You won't need to add salt; the soup and the fried onions are salty enough.) Mix thoroughly, turn into a casserole dish, and bake 40 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling. Serve hot.

17 comments:

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Your green bean casserole sounds just perfect and we will forgive you for using the canned soup. I agree, it does taste great with that. A tradition for sure :)

New Southern Pantry said...

We have a similar dilemia in our family. I love to make fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, my husband still wants the jelly cranberry sauce. Traditions are hard to change! I've done the fresh green beans Southern style with bscon, garlic and onions for holidays but without the green bean casserole we all grew up on it just seems incomplete. Just changing the a few things and keeping the integrity of the dish keeps everyone happy. I always let my husband open the cranberry sauce...he likes the sound when it comes out of the can, says it reminds him of his childhood...:)

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme said...

The holidays are so much about tradition, aren't they? And food is a huge part of our traditions - green bean casserole included. My family would think I'd lost my mind if the Thanksgiving table was missing that casserole :-) And the canned soup? What the heck. It's the holidays!

Erika said...

@Marla - I might go rogue this year and try making my own mushroom cream sauce. We'll see. Probably not.

@Southern - my husband is EXACTLY the same way about the jellied cranberry sauce. I tried making that from scratch one year. It's not that hard, because cranberries have natural pectin, but it takes a long time. The canned is a wonder. And truthfully I prefer it too, although I pretend I want the real stuff.

@Lana - my brother and I feel the same way as your family. If there's no green bean casserole, it's not Thanksgiving.

ziad said...

I agree, it does taste great with that. A tradition for sure :)

www.gana3.com/vb

Deb Duchon said...

Funny thing how quickly traditions can be born. Green bean casserole was invented at the Campbell Soup test kitchen in 1955 to promote their product. It was almost an instant classic. The original recipe card is now on display at the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monet said...

So I am definitely bookmarking this! I too love the "original" version, but I always feel so guilty making it. I'm excited to give this a try. For me...apple pie is one recipe that must be made every November. Thank you for sharing Erika!

Tom said...

This is a great recipe. My wife made this and everyone loved it, The french fried onions were a great idea. Thanks!

The Bucket Project said...

That looks like a great recipe. I'll have to try it really soon.

If you have a few seconds, please stop by The Bucket Project and comment on any post letting us know one thing you want to do before you "kick the bucket". We would greatly appreciate any input you can give for our project.

Thank you,
Jessi @ http://bucketproject.blogspot.com

Elizabeth said...

I'm from the South, where casseroles were invented; at least that's what we think and you can't convince us otherwise! My late Mother-in-Law told me that all great Southern dishes begin with a can of Cream of Mushroom. :-)

Erika said...

@Elizabeth - did your mother-in-law leave you any recipes for those great Southern dishes? Just curious....

About me said...

I love cooking but i can't cook ,can u teach me?

Erika said...

@About - I sure can. In person or via the blog? What do you want to learn first?

Nancy said...

Hi Erika!!

I love your "re make" of this dish! In our family it's my mother's "Potatoes Hashed in Cream" that is the must have item - I have now taught my cousin how to make them so that no matter where Turkey day is held, the potatoes will be there!!!

SAMMYrokr said...

Really nice...... Even i have started a blog about cooking and my school band :
www.creative-young-minds.blogspot.com

Christi said...

Hi Erika! Have you ever tried blanching the green beans in chicken broth instead of water? I did that this year and followed your recipe in every other way-everyone said it was the best green bean casserole they had ever eaten. I love the fresh mushrooms and onions and will be making it this way from now on. Thanks and Happy Holidays~

Erika Kerekes said...

@Christi no, but that is BRILLIANT! :)

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