Thanksgving Test Drive: Green Bean Casserole

I am probably in a minority here, but I’ve never had green bean casserole before. My mom was not into traditional Thanksgiving dishes, so this was never served in our house. For years I’ve seen photos of it in magazines, with those canned fried onions on top. I always thought it looked a little gross. But Martha has a recipe for it in November Everyday Food using homemade onions. I decided to try it out.

First, let me say, this dish was kind of a pain in the butt to make since it used a lot of pans and bowls. I cut up the shallots and dredged them in flour and fried them (1 bowl, 1 pan). This took a few batches, even though I cut the recipe in half. Next, I had to blanch the beans, which required another pot and a strainer. Then I made the mushroom cream (quite easy actually – butter, mushrooms, broth, flour and milk, although this was another pan). You could make the dish up to this point and refrigerate for a day or two I think. Next, I baked it (1 casserole dish). When it comes out of the oven, you add the onions to the top (what was left of the onions – ahem – I couldn’t stop sampling them, they were so good!).

This smelled and looked good. It tasted good too. It was a totally new experience for me. I usually steam or blanch green beans and serve with slivered almonds or just plain butter. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything else with them. It was very good. I loved the mushrooms and beans together. The fried onion topping is wicked good. This doesn’t feel like a veggie dish – it feels like a casserole. In fact, it could be a main dish for my family, served with some other veggies and a potato or rice side.

I liked it, but don’t think I would serve it for Thanksgiving. For one thing, there are so many rich things on the table that day that I prefer to serve some simple veggies to kind of cut the decadence. Since it’s not part of my family’s tradition, I don’t feel like it’s missing. I do recommend this recipe though. I’ve never had the one with the canned soup and the canned fried onions, but this has got to be a million times better! I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day and enjoyed them very much.

As you’ve already noticed, I have no photo. I took photos of this with the new camera, but somehow in trying to download them everything on the camera and memory stick got erased, so I can’t show you my results. I can tell you that it looked very much like the photos I’ve seen in magazines of this dish. The beans were a nice bright green. The sauce was creamy with slices of mushrooms. The onions on top were very thinly sliced rings that were golden brown and very crunchy.

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14 Responses to Thanksgving Test Drive: Green Bean Casserole

  1. Alexandra says:

    This sounds like a really good alternative to the same-old, same-old green beans that I usually make. I’ll try it, although, as you suggest, not for Thanksgiving!

  2. I do like green bean casserole, but since we don’t cook traditional holiday meals around here, I make it a couple of times a year with other meals.

  3. marthaandme says:

    That’s exactly what I’m thinking.

  4. Alisa Bowman says:

    This is one of my favorite dishes, but I think the lazy traditional way with the can of soup and the canned fried onions is probably just as good?

  5. jennifermargulis says:

    I’ve never had a green bean casserole either. I’m not sure I can deal with the pain-in-the-butt factor (I’m still recovering from the bad directions on Martha’s apple challah bread) and all the pots and pans. But I do like the idea of making a more simple green bean casserole this year…

  6. I agree with you – there are lots of rich dishes on the table at Thanksgiving. This seems like a nice, homey, cold-weather dish to have for a regular family dinner, though!

  7. marthaandme says:

    I don’t know – Martha’s tuna noodle casserole made with a lovely bechamel sauce totally changed my mind about tuna noodle. I never liked it before and it was the canned soup that I think I didn’t like in that. I can’t compare with this since I’ve never had it before, but I don’t know if canned soup can stack up against this!

  8. marthaandme says:

    Yes, pots and pans…..

  9. Green bean casseroles aside, you know what I love most about your posts? The honesty you provide about preparation and taste, etc. I feel like I’m talking to a trusted source/friend.

  10. marthaandme says:

    Thank you so much! That is so very nice to hear. I do feel like I’m writing to my friends here.

  11. I didn’t see Martha’s recipe but I did make a green bean casserole from scratch similar to how you described her’s. I made the recipe up because I was wanting to create a version that is dairy and gluten free for people with food allergies.

    It turned out great – you can see it here:

    http://www.heartofcooking.com/2009/11/healthy-traditional-green-bean-casserole-gluten-free-dairy-free-and-grain-free/

    One thing that I did do to simplify things is: I used frozen beans so they didn’t need to be blanched. (But I think fresh would be better)
    I also just cooked the onion slices by themselves, and then added the breadcrumbs to them after they cooked ( I used toasted almond meal.) This is easier than dredging the onions or shallots.

    Anyway, I agree the “from scratch” version has to be much better than the original, though I don’t think I’ve had the original either!.
    Thanks,
    Sarah

  12. marthaandme says:

    Thanks for sharing that! I can see how frozen beans would definitely be a way to simplify the recipe. I have to say I’ve never eaten frozen beans so I don’t know how big a difference it would be.

  13. April says:

    I’m making this this year! I didn’t grow up eating this however once we (my cousins) started getting married other foods got introduced to our family. Personally I have always found it disgusting. Soggy and that canned soup taste. I’m going to give this a go and see what happens!

  14. marthaandme says:

    Hope you enjoy it! Let me know how it turns out!

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