Sunday, February 2, 2014

Green Bean Casserole

Happy Groundhog Day!  Here's a recipe you might not mind eating often if this day keeps repeating itself.

I have decided that two months is long enough to haul out the remaining turkey bits from the freezer and have a Thanksgiving redux.  It's finally starting to behave like winter around here, so this becomes comfort food.  And I discovered a 4 ounce jar of my homemade cranberry sauce languishing in the back of the fridge.  There's also an unopened jar of turkey gravy in the pantry, plus half a container of fried onions.  With a staple of wild rice, all I had to buy for this meal was the green beans and mushrooms.

I realized that I have never posted my recipe for green bean casserole.  It is almost identical to the one on the back of the fried onions, but from scratch.  Less fat, far less sodium, and you get the added health benefit of using fresh mushrooms.  It's basically a modified White Sauce Base.  I get compliments because it's almost like the one on the canister, but has that special something that you only get by using fresh ingredients.

1 qt green beans (fresh and snapped or frozen pre-cut), about 1-1/2 lbs
3 Tb butter
1 8 oz package sliced white mushrooms (or slice them yourself)
3 Tb flour
*1 C milk
salt and pepper to taste
1-1/3 C (half of the larger can) French's fried onions, divided

1.  In a large saucepan, steam the beans in 1/4 C water until soft, but not mushy.  Takes 5-10 minutes.  Drain and remove from heat.  Start preheating the oven to 350º and get out a 1-1/2 quart casserole, one with a lid if you have it.

2.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and cook until they just start to wilt, 3-5 minutes.  They will give off some water, so don't be surprised if it starts to look soupy.  Add flour and stir until everything gets a bit pasty.

3.  Add milk half a cup at a time and stir, adding more as it thickens.  The sauce should be thick enough to coat the beans, but not too sturdy, because it will continue to thicken in the oven.  It should end up the consistency of alfredo sauce.  Add more milk if necessary.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then taste.  The onions are a bit salty, so don't add any more if it's close.  Stir in 2/3 C of the onions, then add sauce to beans.  Stir to coat.

4.  Pour mixture into casserole and bake, covered, for 30 minutes.  Remove lid, sprinkle with remaining 2/3 C onions, and bake for 5 more minutes, until top is crispy.

Serves 6-8

Difficulty rating  π

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