Thanksgiving is pretty much my favorite meal. You can read elsewhere about my love of turkey, but I like the whole package… the stuffing most of all, the cranberry sauce, the gravy, the pie. And the green bean casserole.
Now, the wife and I agree about most things on the Thanksgiving menu, but we hit a stumbling point on the green bean casserole. She never ate it growing up and didn’t know what the fuss was about. I didn’t really help my case by making it just like mom’s… 1 lb frozen green beans, 2 cans Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, and a carton of French’s onions… I was sure this was going to zip me back to childhood, but it’s kinda gross and I had to concede the point.
I was still sure the flavors were a winner, so this year, I went all out to create it. I had some great inspirations, especially from Serious Eats and The Pioneer Woman, each of whom had some good points.
I ended up blending the recipes, because the home-fried shallots looked so awesome, but so did bacon.
First up, the fried shallots from Serious Eats. I did several batches and none of them sucked. One got overcooked, but it didn’t suck and I ate them. In fact, almost half of them got eaten by people walking by as I was cooking, so realistically you may want to make a lot more than this calls for. I also experimented with a) putting shallots into cold oil and bringing it to temp, b) dumping shallots into hot oil, and c) coating shallots with flour before dumping them in hot oil. Frankly, I didn’t detect a huge difference. Flouring was a pain, so not worth it. I sure as hell wouldn’t let the oil cool down between batches just so I could get a cold start, so I guess I’m recommending dumping them in hot oil.
After the shallots were fried, I cooked the bacon. I chopped it up before cooking… not sure if that was worthwhile, but it was good. Then I cooked the mushrooms in the bacon grease. Win!
This batch probably had more mushrooms and less bacon than ideal, but I’ve adjusted the recipe to account for that.
Green bean casserole
- 1 1/2 lbs shallots (thinly sliced)
- 1-2 cups canola oil
- 1 lb bacon
- 1 lbs white mushrooms
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 Tblsp lemon juice (used lime once and it was good too)
- 2 cups chicken stock (have also used white wine and it was maybe even better)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 Tblsp butter
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 lbs green beans
- 1 cup panko
- Heat up the oil in heavy skillet. It should be 1-2 inches deep. I think there’s an ideal frying temperature (375F?) but I forget. Cook the shallots in oil until they turn golden and a bit crispy. Spread them on a pile of paper towels to drain. Probably need to do batches unless your pan is big. Add some salt and let them cool. Don’t eat them all as a snack.
- Chop the bacon into 1/4″ bits and fry until just crispy. Set aside.
- Mince the mushrooms into 1/4″ bits. I liked the suggestion to smash them with a heavy pan before chopping.
- Combine chicken stock, lemon juice, soy sauce, and cream. Set aside.
- Fry the mushrooms in the bacon grease (add butter if needed) on high until the liquid is evaporated, the turn down the heat and add garlic and cook for a minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour becomes golden. Dump in the chicken stock mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until it’s about the same thickness as that can of cream of mushroom soup we’re trying to avoid using. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring some water to boil while you prep the green beans, chopping them into 1-2″ sections. Blanch the beans in batches, then plunge into ice water. Drain, then dump into mushroom mixture.
- Add 1 cup of shallots to mushroom mixture, then pour into a 9×13 casserole dish. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes. Top the dish with the panko and the rest of the shallots if they haven’t all been eaten by this point. Continue cooking for another few minutes until bubbling.