For the holidays, many people absolutely love a classic green bean casserole made with condensed soup, canned beans and packaged fried onions.
I get the nostalgia. And the thought is a winning one: tender green beans enveloped in a creamy sauce and topped with crispy, crunchy oniony things.
But how about a fresher course on the concept?
Here, shallots are crisped in oil (which then can be used to saute other things, as it will be infused with the flavor of the shallots). Those will go on top.
Haricot verts are thin, young green beans that are more tender than their sturdier, string bean cousins. They are also a bit pricier, but this is a holiday, after all, and you are reinventing a classic, so it’s worth seeking them out.
And the sauce is a lovely medley of fresh mushrooms, broth and half-and-half that is just creamy and thick enough, but still on the delicate side, so the flavors of all those fresh ingredients can come right on through.
Modern Green Bean Casserole
- 2 pounds haricot verts, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound mushrooms (any type), roughly chopped
- 3 shallots, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup half-and-half
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
- >> Topping:
- 5 shallots, very thinly sliced
- Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- Kosher salt, to taste
To make topping: Line a plate with paper towels. Place sliced shallots in a small saucepan and cover with oil. Heat over medium and allow shallots to cook, stirring occasionally until medium brown. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve, reserving oil for another use, then drain shallots on paper towel- lined plate and blot with another paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a shallow 3-quart casserole. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with water and ice.
Plunge haricot verts into boiling water, and cook about 5 minutes, just until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge beans into ice water to stop cooking. Drain. Set aside.
Melt butter in large skillet. Saute mushrooms until browned and any liquid released has evaporated, about 6 minutes.
Add minced shallots and saute another 2 minutes, until shallots are slightly softened. Sprinkle with flour, and continue to saute another 2 minutes until flour coats mushrooms well and turns golden.
Slowly add broth while stirring. Stir in half-and-half, salt and pepper; continue to cook, stirring frequently, until liquid thickens. Add green beans. Turn into prepared casserole. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle crispy sliced shallots over casserole and bake 5 more minutes, until shallots are hot and re-crisped. Serve hot, garnished with parsley, if desired. Serves 10.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 162 calories, 11 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 39 mg cholesterol, 248 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 5 g protein