Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Serious Green Bean Casserole


We've all grown up eating the classic green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and French's onions on top. While that casserole is a true classic, this recipe aims to take each component of that dish and make it as well as possible. Kenji over at Serious Eats did a fantastic job creating this and it's been a big hit every time I've made it.

It's not even that much extra work, and when you're doing it for Thanksgiving or for your family, they'll thank you for it!

Serious Green Bean Casserole
(from here)

1 pound shallots, peeled and sliced 1/8th-inch-thick on a mandoline
2 cups canola oil
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds white button mushrooms, rinsed and spun in a salad spinner (a note on the mushrooms, I used 4 oz of shiitakes, so this is amount is to taste)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 cups low sodium chicken stock (or Homemade Turkey stock)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup flour
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds green beens, ends trimmed and cut into 2 inch segments

==

I begin by making the fried shallot topping. You can do this a week ahead of time, no problem.

Weigh out some shallots.


A mandolin is the best tool for this job, just USE THE HAND GUARD.

You can use a knife if you're fast and accurate as these shallots need to cook at the same speed to come out right.


Peel your shallots.

This takes me forever. Gotta find a good lifehack on this.


Place your mandolin over a big pan. I use my "wok-like-pan" for this.


Slice 1/8" thick.


Done:


Add 2 cups of canola oil to the pan. The shallots should just peek through the surface of the oil.


Place over high heat and break up the shallot rings as best you can.

I use big chopsticks for this, but tongs work fine.


Nice and broken up:


We'll be cooking for about 20 total minutes.

First, cook for 12 minutes stirring occasionally.


These were mine after 6 minutes:


Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with 6 layers of paper towels.

We'll dry the shallots here.


Get a draining rig ready. Make sure it's heat proof as this is going to be filled with hot oil.


After 12 minutes we'll be stirring pretty much constantly.

Now, set your timer for 8 minutes.


Kind of hard to see but 4 minutes left and they are pale, pale yellow. Not brown yet. 



During the last 2 or 3 minutes the magic happens.

You have to be on top of this as the line between golden brown and over done is pretty fine.


About perfect!


Drain immediately.


Transfer to the paper towel drying rig.



Your oil is left over. Keep this. We'll filter it in a second.


Transfer shallots to each paper towel, one at a time until the shallots are completely dry.


Let the shallots cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Season with Kosher salt.


Filter the oil through a paper towel.


Clean shallot oil!
Store the shallots in an airtight container. 


These beat the crap out of French's.

Yum
Save your oil for use in everything from breakfast to stir-frys.


==

Now, we'll start the actual casserole. 

Get a pot of water on the boil. Add a liberal amount of salt. Like 1/4 cup of Kosher. 


Clean and trim your green beans.

This is probably the most labor intensive step. Just put on some music and get in the zone.


Done!


Blanch the green beans for 5 minutes.

Get an ice bath ready.


They should retain their bright green color.


Drain and immediately toss in the ice bath.


Work them around to cool completely.


==

Next, chop up your mushrooms. I like them small, but that's me. 


Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons of your shallot oil over medium-high heat.


Add your mushrooms when the butter & oil is hot.


Cook for 7-10 minutes or until they start to get nice and brown.


Meanwhile, make the cream sauce.

2 cups stock


1 teaspoon lemon juice


1 teaspoon soy sauce


1 1/2 cups heavy cream



Whisk together.


When the mushrooms are ready, add the garlic.


Stir constantly for about 30 seconds.


Sprinkle on 1/4 cup of flour.


Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.


Slowly whisk in the cream sauce.

Whisk constantly and pour slowly.


Stirring fairly constantly, heat the sauce to a simmer.


Reduce until it's a thick, soupy consistency, 7-10 minutes.


Drain the green beans and add to a large bowl.


Add 1 cup of the fried shallots.


Season your sauce with salt and pepper to taste.


Give it a final stir to incorporate everything.


Add the mushroom sauce to the bowl.



Stir well to combine.

You will want to eat it right now.


Pour out into a 9x13 casserole dish.


Make it nice and even.

You can store this overnight if need be.


Baking time will vary here.

If you're doing this for Thanksgiving just toss it in with the Turkey near the end of cooking.

I baked mine at 275 for about 45 minutes, covered with foil.

Then after the turkey was out, I topped the casserole with 1 cup of fried shallots and baked for 10 minutes at 350 to crisp up the top.

If you're doing this straight, with no worry about Thanksgiving, the recipe says to top with a cup of fried shallots and to bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, uncovered.


My Thanksgiving baking arrangement.

==

This green bean casserole is nothing short of amazing. The depth of flavor is outstanding. It's umami, creamy, crunchy and very shalloty. It is by far and away better than the classic recipe and is sure to impress.

Give this a try for the holidays or for just a weeknight dinner!


Enjoy!

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