Here in American, we like to combine creamy goodness and veggies then top them with crispy yummy bits. That is why no Thanksgiving feast will be complete without a rich, satisfying green bean casserole.
This may come as a shocker but growing-up we never had green bean casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. Unless, we had a potluck at church, or ate at a friend’s house green bean casserole was never part of the plan.
So, when I met my husband and started meeting his family, I got to know what green bean casserole was, how it was made, and that it was one of his favorites.
There was just one problem, I try to avoid processed food, such as canned condensed soup. Not only do I swell like a scared puffer fish after eating that much sodium, but most of those soups contain corn and soy both of which I have a hypersensitive to. Therefore, I had to find an alternative way to make my man’s favorite holiday side.
So here is what I did!
First, no canned goods, fresh green beans trimmed and blanched. Once the green beans are done time to make the mushroom sauce and onion topping.
To make the onion topping combine the onions, flour, panko, olive oil, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread out the coated onions. Bake onions on the medium rack until golden brown. This takes about 30 minutes make sure to toss the onions 2 to 3 times while cooking to ensure they don’t burn. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.
Caramelize the onion in some butter with a pinch of salt. This part takes the longest about 5-7 minutes you want to cook the onions low and slow allowing their natural sugars to come out, leaving you with sweet onions opposed to harsh spicy onions. Careful not to get impatient, if you cook them too fast they will char leaving you with a slightly burnt taste.
Once onions are caramelized remove them and set aside for later. Now in the same pan, you cooked your onions, place more butter and sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt, being sure not to crowd the pan. If you crowd the pan the mushrooms will not brown properly and the juices will not render the same. Cook mushrooms 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally. When done the mushrooms should be half the size you started with.
Now the rest goes quickly. Add the garlic and thyme give it a quick stir. Stir in the flour and allow to cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the stock, and the cream. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Once the sauce has thickened stir in your green beans. Top with crispy onions, bake for 10 minutes and serve.
You can make this Cast Iron Green Bean Casserole up to 5 days ahead. Blanch beans and place in a bag with a paper towel to help draw out any additional moister. Make sauce and allow to cool then place the mushroom sauce in a mason jar or any glass jar with a tight lid. The onion topping, I would make the same day to avoid any sogginess from occurring, or you can use over the counter to make your life easier. The day you are ready to serve mix beans and mushroom sauce, top with onion crispies and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes to warm through.
Just because you have limitations doesn’t mean you have to suffer. There is always a way around them and make a dish that is more satisfying than the original. This Cast Iron Green Bean Casserole is now my husband’s favorite, he requests a double batch every year and would prefer it over the original.
Cast Iron Green Bean Casserole
Crispy Onion Topping
- 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Beans and Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- 2 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 lb fresh green beans trimmed and cut in halved
- 2 tbsp butter unsalted, divided
- 8 oz button mushrooms cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
Crispy Onion Topping
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees
- Combine the onions, flour, panko, olive oil, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread out the coated onions. Bake onions on the medium rack until golden brown. This takes about 30 minutes make sure to toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking to ensure they don’t burn. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.
Beans and Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- Blanch the trimmed green beans and set aside for later
- Caramelize the onion in 1 tbsp of butter with a pinch of salt for about 5-7 minutes. Once caramelized remove them and set them aside.
- In the same pan, the onions were cooked in, place the remaining butter and sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt, DO NOT CROWD PAN. Cook mushrooms 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally
- Add the garlic and thyme give it a quick stir. Stir in the flour and allow to cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the stock, and the cream. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Once the sauce has thickened stir in your green beans. Top with crispy onions bake for 10 minutes and serve.