Green bean casseroles seem to be one of the most popular dishes on any Thanksgiving table.
The classic version of this is straight out of the 1950’s and 1960’s: open a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, mix with green beans and top with store bough French fried onions.
My take on this classic is to prepare the dish with good, fresh ingredients — nothing canned. I have guests who hate green beans going back for seconds and thirds of my version. Give these Thanksgiving Green Beans a try. They’re guaranteed to be a Thanksgiving table-pleaser.
- 1 ½ pounds fresh thin green beans (haricots vert) cut into 1 inch pieces
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 pound shallots, sliced into rings
- 5 slices bacon, thinly sliced
- 1 pound Cremini mushrooms; cut each mushroom into 8 wedges.
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 3 cups milk, warmed
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne
- Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and boil for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold cold water and let sit in a colander with 8 ice cubes mixed in.
- In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, but not burning, add a small handful of the shallot rings to fry. Don’t over crowd the pan. It will typically take about 6-8 batches to fry all the shallots. Once shallots turn golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Use a pan large enough to hold all the mushrooms. Heat over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook bacon until it’s crispy and remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon grease (Tip: if you’d like to make this dish vegetarian, skip this part but reserve 1 tablespoon of the oil from frying shallots).
- Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid has evaporated, so that they brown nicely. Add the garlic and thyme, stir to combine, cook for a minute or two without burning the garlic. Remove mushrooms from pan.
- Heat the milk so that its just warm.
- Melt the butter into the same pan that you used for the mushrooms. Once melted, add the flour, and whisk to make a light roux (this will eliminate the “flour” taste). Slowly pour in the milk and continue to whisk, once fully incorporated and just starting to bubble. Lower heat to medium low and continue to whisk until thick, approximately 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, 1½ teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, nutmeg and cayenne.
- Combine the mushroom mixture and green beans (make sure to remove any remaining ice cubes and pat the beans slightly dry first) and toss with the sauce. Pour into a buttered baking dish and top with bacon and shallots. Bake at 375° until bubbly, about 25 minutes.
- Note: This recipe can be made the day before serving. Hold off putting the shallots and bacon on top, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. To serve, take out of fridge prior to putting in the oven so that the mixture can warm up a bit before hitting the oven. Top with the shallots and bacon just before going in the oven.