One of my favorite holidays is coming up—Thanksgiving! The best part about this fall holiday is, of course, spending time with family—but this is closely followed by the obligatory Thanksgiving green bean casserole. My family, your family, and millions of others across America will take part in our autumn feast this month, and for many, this side dish has a permanent place on the menu.
Yes, I’m writing an entire blog post about green bean casseroles. I’m sure you can see how passionate I am about this dish!
I’m a stickler for tradition, and among my favorite Thanksgiving customs, apart from the turkey and stuffing, is my green bean casserole. I have a mean recipe for the holiday dish, which I’m so excited to share with you!
Every year while in the kitchen, preparing the Thanksgiving feast, I wonder: how did the green bean casserole become such a staple in the American Thanksgiving meal?
Turns out, the green bean casserole was first invented by Campbell’s (the soup company) in 1955 when the company sought to create a quick, easy recipe that called for two things most Americans had in their pantries—green beans and cream of mushroom soup. The classic recipe can be found here.
Since then, the classic recipe has been modified to fit a variety of tastes and styles. In addition to keeping with society’s trend of eating less processed foods, I’m happy to share my own twist with you.
2 quarts water
2 lbs fresh green beans, ends snapped, cut to your preferred size
1 lb baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned with stems off and sliced
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ½ tbsp. minced fresh garlic
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 to 3 tbsp. Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour
1 ½ cups chicken stock or broth
2 tbsp. dry sherry
1 ½ cups half & half cream (don’t use fat free, it will not thicken)
3 slices whole grain bread (day old bread works best)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2.8 oz can French fried onions (or follow my own fried onion recipe below*)
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Bring water to a boil. Add green beans. Cover and cook until crisp and tender (about 6 minutes). Drain beans and add to ice bath for a few minutes to stop the cooking. Drain again and dry beans well on a double layer of paper towels.
While beans are drying, melt butter in a 6 quart pan. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms begin to soften, about 6 minutes, stir often. Gradually stir in 2 tbsp. of Wondra flour and cook for a few minutes. Add chicken stock and sherry and bring to a simmer. Add half and half and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning and thickness to your preference. Stir cooked beans into sauce mixture and coat well.
Prepare the topping. Combine the bread, butter, fried onions and seasoning in a food processor. Pulse until mixed but not smooth (about 15 pulses). Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 425 ˚F. Place bean mixture into a 9 x 12, greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the topping over the beans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
This dish can be prepared a day before. When doing so, assemble according to directions but do not add topping. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking to bring to room temperature. Remove plastic wrap, pre-heat oven to 425 ˚F. Cook for 25 minutes. Sprinkle topping over the dish and bake for additional 10 to 15 minutes.
*Homemade Fried Onion:
4 medium yellow onions
3 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup olive oil
Peel onions and slice thinly. Pull rings apart and place on a large flat plate. Sprinkle with the flour and salt, and coat well using your fingers. Heat the oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-high and carefully add about one third of the onion. Make sure the rings are not touching one another. Fry for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, and turn over using a spatula. Fry for another 2 to 3 minutes until onions turn a nice light golden brown. Adjust heat so onion doesn’t fry too quickly. Use a fork to transfer the onion rings onto a plate with a double layer of paper towel. Repeat for the other two batches of onion. Add oil if needed before frying the next batch.
Whether you follow my recipe, Campbell’s original recipe, or add your own twist on this beloved dish, it’s critical to include green bean casserole as part of your Thanksgiving meal. It’s an American tradition! Thanksgiving just isn’t the same without green bean casserole!
Feel free to share your favorite green bean casserole recipe with me.
Happy cooking and Bon Appétit!