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I saw this casserole as a result of following the link to more recipes at the bottom of the post entitled “Quick Ways to Doctor a Bag of Green Beans” on Alanna Kellogg’s (A Veggie Venture) blog*. It was the title “World’s Best Green Bean Casserole” that caught my eye. And Alanna’s description of it kept me firmly on the page:
That’s a lofty name, World’s Best Green Bean Casserole. I might even go so far as to call it the World’s Best Casserole, bar none. It’s absolutely delicious.
I adore green beans. I neeeeded to make this! Firmly hooked, I read further:
It’s updated from that ooey-gooey mess of canned green beans, canned mushroom soup and yucky canned onions. (Yucky canned onions? Read on!) […] I’ve never bought canned onions until now but for this, absolutely.
Glup… canned onions? My only experience with canned onions is those horrible little pearl onions lurking in equally horrible canned peas of my childhood. The same three peas and one pearl onion that lay congealing on my plate on the kitchen table where I sat banished because I hadn’t finished my dinner. I would stare at them sadly, listening forelornly to the rest of the family happily chatting and laughing as they ate dessert in the dining room. And I thought, “Alanna wants me to sully green beans with those canned onions??” She must be crazy! We’ll make the casserole without the canned onions.
And off I went to approach T with the idea having a green bean casserole. I began by getting the topping out of the way. Scoffing, I asked T if he had ever heard of canned onions.
T: Of course! …mmmmmmm
me: Canned onions?
T: Mmmm… mmmhmmmm…. (pause) Why?
me: Apparently there’s a green bean casserole made with mushroom soup.
T: Mmmmmm… mmmhmmmm…. (dreamy eyed look and hushed voice) Mom used to make that all the time.
me: Let’s try it. It sounds good. We don’t have to use the canned onio…
T: (interrupting) Let’s have it tonight! And let’s buy some canned onions today! Wait til you try them! You’ll love them!! Come on!! Let’s go!!!
The standard green bean casserole recipe calls for canned green beans. But why would we use canned beans when fresh are so much better?! It also calls for canned cream of mushroom soup but as per Alanna’s advice, we made our own mushroom soup.
And of course, it calls for canned onions. As you may have already guessed, I was reluctant to use the canned onions. But we did because Alanna said we had to. (We’re very obedient.) Not to mention that it turns out that canned onions are fabulously crispy. They’re not at all what I was expecting. They’re wonderful!
But they can’t be good for us! Even though they were so fantastic tasting, they’re not exactly cheap. Reading the ingredients list, I see they’re also laced with hydrogenated fat. Next time we make the green bean casserole, we’ll stray and just caramelize our own onions. We’re guessing that we’ll like the casserole just as much.
Green Bean Casserole
based on Alanna Kellogg’s (A Veggie Venture) World’s Best Green Bean Casserole
- green beans, washed and trimmed
- good shot mushrooms, sliced
- olive oil
- unsalted butter, optional
- 1 c milk (⅓ c milk powder and 1 c water)
- chicken stock powder
- 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- seasalt and pepper, to taste
- 10% cream, optional
- good shot of dried bread crumbs
- olive oil and unsalted butter
- French’s™ French-fried onions (79gm (2.8oz) can), all but a few handfuls …someone ate them…
- green beans Wash and trim the green beans. Parboil them until just al dente. Drain and immediately plunge them into ice cold water so they retain their emerald green colour.
- Drain well. (Alanna suggests putting a layer of paper towels onto a cookie sheet and placing the “beans in single layer to dry, top[ped] with a double layer of [paper] towels“. She goes on to say “Don’t skip the drying process“.)
- mushroom sauce Slice the mushrooms. (We used white button mushrooms but I’m sure you can use any mushrooms.) Heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan.
- Add mushrooms to the olive oil and sauté at medium high heat until they are softened and beginning to colour.
- Add a little butter if you want.
- Stir flour into the mushrooms.
- Stir in milk and chicken stock powder (or a milk and chicken stock combination). Add pepper. Taste and add salt if required. If it seems too thick, add some cream. Set the mushroom sauce aside until it is time to assemble the casserole.
- topping Heat olive oil and a little butter (if you want) in a clean frying pan (cast iron is good). Add bread crumbs and, stirring from time to time, cook til golden.
- Remove from heat and stir in the canned onions. Set aside until it is time to assemble the casserole.
- assembly Put beans into a buttered casserole dish.
- Slather the mushroom mixture on top of the green beans.
- Put the crumbs over top and bake at about 350F until the top is golden brown.
Serve immediately. Leftovers (if there are any) can be gently reheated in a slow oven and the casserole is just as good.
- Alanna Kellogg’s World’s Best Green Bean Casserole
- 2 recipes for green beans: with mustard; with pimiento
- green beans in aloo posta
- recipes from OUR kitchen – index
* Alanna has put together the most wonderful resource of vegetable recipes. There are zillions, alphabetized by vegetable. Take a look!
A note about the amount of topping: Alanna suggested to use only half the amount of topping called for. I thought that sounded like a fine idea. But I don’t wear the pants in our kitchen (carry the serving spoon?) and T decreed that more is better. And I have to agree that lots of crumb topping is delicious. But I do suspect that if I ruled the world, we would be putting on half the amount and would still like it just as much.
On this particular day, we served this fabulous green bean casserole with oven roasted sweet potatoes, rice and Faux Swiss Steak. We know we’ll be having this casserole many more times with many different dishes. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful with a roast ham?!)
Thank you Alanna!!
Button Mushroom (Agaricus bisporus)
Mushrooms! They’re the best, aren’t they? A natural source of glutamate (the same flavour boosting glutamate that is in MSG – yes that dreaded substance that people think gives them headaches. It has been argued that it’s extra salt and sodium in the MSG rather than the glutamate that cause people to get headaches.)
White mushrooms, brown mushrooms, dried mushrooms, exotic mushrooms, even canned mushrooms work wonders on a dish, elevating it to the next level.
White button mushrooms are the mushrooms that are most available to us. Of course, our vegetable stores have a huge array of other mushrooms as well. But the white ones are the least expensive and they do the job.
Please read more about mushrooms:
- wikipedia – button mushroom
wikipedia – edible mushrooms
- The Cook’s Thesaurus – mushrooms
- all about MSG
- IFIC Review: Glutamate and Monosodium Glutamate: Examining the Myths (earlier version now offline: Everything You Need To Know About Glutamate And Monosodium Glutamate“)
WHB is on the road again and this week’s host is Ulrike (Küchenlatein). The deadline for entering WHB#119 is Sunday 10 February 2008 at 15:00, Utah time (GMT-7). For complete details on how to participate in Weekend Herb Blogging, please see the following:
- Kalyn’s Kitchen – WHB rules
- Kalyn’s Kitchen – Who’s Hosting WHB?
- Kalyn’s Kitchen – WHB Recap Archives
edit 11 February 2008: Ulrike has posted the roundup. Take a look at all the delicious entries!