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Green bean casserole -- updated?

  • y

I need to bring the green bean casserole to a friends' pre-Thanksgiving feast. I admit I love the old-fangled version with the fried onions on top, but I'm looking for an update. I think I saw a recipe on a cooking show last year that calls for the same *types* of ingredients (mushrooms, frizzled onions on top) but makes it without the ubiquitous cream of mushroom soup.

Would you share a recipe that fits the bill?

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  1. I wanted to do the same thing lastyear, so... I made my own fried onion rings.(I have to admit the canned ones are tastier.)For the sauce...I made a white sauce from scratch and added fresh mushrooms. Same recipe, just more homemade.

    1. Michael Chiarello did an updated version last year. I tried it and thought it needed a little oomph in flavor... maybe could have been a little creamier too. It was pretty good though... pain to fry all the onions!

      Link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

      1. n
        Niki Rothman

        Right! Get the nicest, smallest green beans you can, French cut them, and briefly blanch.
        Saute' plenty of shallots and garlic (do not brown) in unsweetened butter.
        Saute' lots of sliced mushrooms (flavorful wild type would be great mixed with button, but not porcini - too strong)in butter and o.o. combo (so you can fry at a higher temp without burning the butter), sprinkle with soy sauce (makes fried mushrooms taste beefier - carmelizes them)- DO brown them.
        Combine all the above with sour cream, cracked pepper and salt, and top with those canned French fried onions (a good product)
        Bake at 325 for about a half hour.
        I just made this recipe up in my head, but it's something I'm planning on making for Thanksgiving myself. My main concern is the possibility that the sour cream might curdle. I have a couple of ideas, besides the low temp, to prevent this: to mix the
        sour cream with either a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup or mayo. But I'd rather not. I'd love to hear how you work it out. Please follow-up post after you cook your own.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Niki Rothman

          Hey, yumyum - hot tip is to use creme fraiche, which won't curdle. The quick-and-dirty way to get this is to mix sweet and sour cream 50-50 and let it sit covered (with a clean dishtowel, not plastic) at room temp for a few hours. Dunno why it works, but it does.

          1. re: Will Owen
            Niki Rothman

            I don't know if you're just being friendly, or mistaking me for a poster named yumyum. But in any case, thanks for the really fine tip! I have a feeling real creme fraiche may be a completely different item, but if your method works, I'll be using it in place of SC when concerned about potential curdling. Certainly it would be tastier than either canned soup or mayo.

            1. re: Niki Rothman

              Sorry - "yumyum" was the handle on the response I was responding to...if that's at all clear.

              Got that creme fraiche recipe from a Julia Child book, which validates it beyond any doubt as far as I'm concerned!

            2. re: Will Owen

              My chowmom makes creme fraiche like this all the time, but she *does* loosely cover with plastic and lets it sit on top of the fridge for 24 hours. Then give it a stir and put in the fridge.

              I find there's little that wont be improved by a dollop of cf -- I spoon it into beef stew to approximate stroganoff, stir into scrambled eggs to make them creamy and tangy and swirl into soups especially at this time of year.

              Great reminder. No matter what I end up doing, I'll be using some elixir of the dairy gods.

              1. re: yumyum
                Niki Rothman

                I love it when I find out how to get hold of a product I've heard about but never used, this is great! I guess I just never saw it in a store, and had no idea it was so easy to make. This is going to live in my fridge from now on as soon as I can get the makings.
                Kudos to you & Mr. Owen.

                1. re: Niki Rothman

                  Just to muddy the waters and eat more bandwidth, let me add that you can do it with sweet cream and plain yogurt, too...

            3. re: Niki Rothman

              I have a green bean casserole recipe that includes sour cream, and I've never had it curdle. I think you'd be OK stirring in the sour cream right before the whole thing goes into the oven.

            4. I'm probably just going to recycle my mom's recipe for what she called "Green Beans Aw Grotten" - well, she'd never taken French. Anyway, it's green beans cooked until just tender, then masked in an ordinary white-sauce-based cheese sauce and finished in the oven. I'll use a very sharp cheddar and add some dry mustard and a dash of Worcestershire to the sauce. The frizzled onions on top would go very well indeed with this.

              1. If you have access to Cook's Illustrated there is a recipe from 02/05.

                8 Replies
                1. re: DT

                  Got it. Is it any good?

                  1. re: yumyum

                    I haven't made it yet. It was on their website, and not in their magazine.

                    I'll post the ingredients, and paraphrase the rest if you want.

                    1. re: DT

                      I'd appreciate it. Their exruciating testing and versioning always results in the best outcome I think.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        Green Bean Casserole

                        All the components of this dish can be cooked ahead of time. The assembled casserole needs only 15 minutes in a 375-degree oven to warm through and brown.

                        Serves 8 to 10


                        4 slices white sandwich bread white crust, each slice torn into quarters
                        2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
                        1/4 teaspoon table salt
                        1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
                        3 cups onions can fried (about 6 ounces)


                        table salt
                        2 pounds green bean fresh, ends trimmed, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
                        1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
                        6 tablespoons unsalted butter
                        1 medium onion minced
                        3 cloves minced garlic (about 1 tablespoon)
                        12 ounces white button mushroom wiped clean, stems trimmed, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
                        12 ounces cremini mushroom wiped clean, stems trimmed, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
                        2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaf minced
                        1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
                        2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
                        1 cup chicken stock homemade, or canned low-sodium broth
                        2 cups heavy cream

                        (paraphrased directions)

                        Topping: In food processor, pulse bread, butter, salt and pepper to achieve coarse crumbs. Toss with onions in a bowl and set aside.

                        Beans: Preheat oven to 375ยบ. Into 4 quarts of boiling water add 2 tbls salt and green beans. Cook 4-5 minutes until a bit crunchy, place into ice water to stop cooking. Drain well and dry.

                        Cover porcini with 1/2 cup hot water, cover bowl with vented plastic wrap and microwave about 30 seconds. Let sit about 5 minutes until softened. Remove mushrooms and mince. Strain liquid and reserve.

                        In large nonstick pan melt butter until foaming subsides. Add onion, garlic, button and cremini mushrooms cooking just until mushrooms release their moisture about 2 minutes. Add porcini and their liquid, thyme, 1 tsp salt and pepper. Cook until liquid is reduced to about 2 tbls - 5 minutes. Add flour cooking about one minute. Reduce heat to medium, stir in stock, stir in cream, simmer gently about 15 minutes or until consistency of dense soup.

                        Spread beans in 3 qt baking dish, add mushroom mixture and toss to coat beans. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over, bake until nicely browned, about 15 minutes.

                        1. re: DT

                          Thanks very much for paraphrasing and posting.

                  2. re: DT

                    I looked thru my stack of Cooks Illustrated last night. It's not in the Jan/Feb 05 issue -- drat!

                    I did find a recipe on epicurious that sounds good, and very rich, with cream, butter and madiera. Just what I'm looking for in this once a year comfort dish.

                    Thanks all for the suggestions.

                    Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                    1. re: DT

                      are you sure its this year - they published such a recipe a few years back. Cream not sour cream I think.

                      1. re: DT

                        are you sure its this year - they published such a recipe a few years back. Cream not sour cream I think.

                      2. In "Holiday Cooking with America's Top chefs" Emeril Lagasse does an updated green bean casserole

                        not tried it but here it is;

                        6 T plus 2 tsp unsalted butter
                        vegetable oil for frying
                        2 med onions, thinly sliced into rings, and 2 cups chopped yellow onions
                        1/3 c Crystal Hot Sauce
                        2 1/4 c ap flour
                        2 tsp Emeril's Original Essence
                        1/2 c fnely chopped celery
                        1 T minced garlic
                        1 pound white button mushrooms, wiped clean and ends trimmed, sliced
                        1 1/2 tsp Bayou blast
                        3/4 tsp salt
                        1 1/2 c homemade chicken stock, or canned chicken broth
                        1/2 c heavy cream
                        2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed, blanched in salt water
                        3/4 pound fontina cheese, rind removed, cut into 1/2" cubes

                        1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13" casserole with 2 tsp butter and set aside.

                        2. Heat at least 4 inches oil to 360 degrees in large saucepan or deep fryer.

                        3. separate the onion slices into individual rings. Combine the onion rings with the hot sauce in a mixing bowl and toss thoroughly. Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl and, working in batches, dredge the onion rings in the flour to coat. Transfer the coated onion rings to a colander or strainer and shake over the bowl containing the flour to release any loose flour. Fry the onion rings in batches until just lightly golden, about 1 minute per batch. (note: it is important to return the oil to 360 degrees between batches.) As batches are completed, transfer the fried rings to a paper towel-lined baking dish to drain. Season with the Essence and set aside.

                        4. Melt the remaining 6 T butter in a large saucepan over high heat and cook the chopped onions and celery until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, Bayou blast, and salt, and cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms are soft and golden brown and have released their liquid, 4-6 minutes. sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 c flour and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chicken stock and cream and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce it thick and creamy and the floury taste is gone, about 15 minutes.

                        5. In a large bowl, combine the green beans, mushroom sauce, and cubed fontina cheese. Transfer to the casserole dish and top with the fried onions. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly and the onion rings are golden brown.

                        Makes 8-10 servings.

                        Karen here again, Certainly you could modify this and use the canned fried onions rather than frying your own. Skip steps 2 and 3, The rest of it sounds prety basic. Let us know if you try it.

                        1. I did the Paula Deen recipe last year because I knew it would appeal to the grandchildren. Although it does call for the cream of mushroom soup, it also calls for fresh green beans and mushrooms. The canned onions are incorporated into the recipe as opposed to being sprinkled on top. It was a big hit with the kids as well as the grownup kids. If you're interested, I'll post.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Neta

                            Yes, please.

                            I also saw the Tyler Florence firehouse recipe -- for some reason it didn't appeal. Maybe it was the bread cube topping. I much prefer the onions.

                            Thanks again (all) for the ideas.

                            1. re: Neta

                              no point to fresh beans in November - they will not be as "fresh" as good frozen product.

                            2. If you don't have vegetarians to worry about, I suggest adding thin slivers of ham or prosciutto to the mushroom and green bean mix. In place of the canned soup, I would use a very loose bechamel that's been seasoned w/ nutmeg and thinned w/ chicken stock.

                              While I've seen updated recipes using caramelized onions, I think crispy is important so I would probably just go w/ deep-frying my own that's been *lightly* dredged in buttermilk and flour. An easy alternative would be to use the the jars of fried shallots in Asian markets. They're amazingly cheap and better than the American jarred stuff. I buy the ones made in Vietnam since the Chinese ones are of lesser quality IMO.

                              1. w
                                Wayne Keyser

                                Saw one today on Food Network - whatzisname was doing turkey dinner at a firehouse.

                                A mushroom gravy was made of sliced mushrooms (2 pounds, dunno how many beans) cooked in olive oil and butter until done through, then cream added and reduced (sprig of fresh thyme, I think, and a bit of salt of course) - add to cooked beans, top with crushed nuts or toasted breadcrumbs or those onions, heat through in casserole.

                                My memory is vague (sorry) but I would assay something like this from no more details than this.

                                1. The non-American, checking in...

                                  Um, what is a traditional green bean casserole supposed to be like? Is this only served at Thanksgiving? I've never heard of it before, and am intrigued. From the other posts, it seems to involve blanching green beans, then baking them in a cream of mushroom soup or bechamel sauce, with fried onions on the top. Are the beans supposed to be totally soft after you've baked the whole thing?

                                  What makes this good/yummy/special? TIA for any help in explaining the American cooking psyche...

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Kate

                                    Very good guess, although the original recipe uses canned green beans. I'm pretty certain that the original recipe was introduced by Campbell's Soup Co. after WWII. Great way to sell their canned soups for cooking.

                                    See link for a picture demo on ingredients and how it's made. As you can imagine, the original tastes processed and oogy, but I'm sure that this is nostalgic or "comfort food" for some.

                                    Recipes these days vary and families have modified for their tastes. Of course, foodies have tried to upscale the dish. This dish was not a staple in my family even though we had a turkey and trimmings, but I recognize it as a classic T-giving dish that makes its appearance next to turkey once a year.

                                    Link: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar...

                                    1. re: Carb Lover

                                      Never use canned green beans, use frozen.

                                      The original recipe from my Grandmother used frozen, and that is the recipe on the can.

                                  2. We have tried other more "upscale" and "gourmet" versions, but still go back to the old tried and true.
                                    Don't be a culimary snob!

                                    Everyone seems to love it, and I can't say any attempted improvements have been a success.

                                    Just follow the recipe on the can of Campbells cream of mushroom soup.

                                    I do like leaving out the middle layer of onions and putting the whole can on the top. The crunchy topping is yummy.

                                    Just because it is simple and easy, and out grandmothers made it doesn't mean it isn't delicious.

                                    1. This one from New York magazine looks good.

                                      Link: http://www.newyorkmetro.com/restauran...

                                      1. Thanks DT for posting the paraphrased Cooks Illustrated recipe. That's what I made on Saturday and it was delicious. I ended up using frozen beans as the fresh looked crappy. I don't think it made a huge difference in the end result ... it's a casserole after all. The mushroom sauce resembles the old-fangled cream of mushroom soup once it simmers for a while, but better because of the porcinis and their liquid. I think it could have been improved by a dash of sherry but I didn't have any, so.... The combination bread crumb/fried onion ring topping was perfect and there were NO leftovers. Pretty amazing as the recipe made one large and one small casserole and I expected the small one to come home with me.

                                        Anyway, thanks for all the responses. I knew the CI version would be well-tested and reliable.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: yumyum

                                          Your welcome, glad it was good.

                                          I think I'll make it, but there are only two of us.

                                          Do you think it would be good left over? If not I'll have to scale it down, but not sure how well that will work.