10 November 2011

Green Bean Casserole for the Skeptical

I'm not a huge casserole fan.
I don't like mushrooms.
And I loathe cream of mushroom soup.
  So why am I presenting a Green Bean Casserole recipe?
This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated, those crazy folk who treat cooking like a science project, experimenting with ingredients, methods, and everything else involved in culinary adventure.
 Which is much like how Ryan likes to cook, come to think of it, which makes eating his concoctions exhilarating and perturbing all at once.
 But, this recipe is presented in it's refined form, and best results.  
 It's the kind of recipe that is so good, and so rich that I make it once (twice if we're lucky) a year, because everything is made from scratch (except for French's Onions on top, which really can't be replicated by any amount of frying) which mentally helps to know there aren't any spooky ingredients lurking.  But beware, if you take this to the family potluck, they may request it every time.

  • slices white bread, each slice torn into quarters
  • tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cups canned fried onions (about 6 oz.)
  • lbs green beans, ends trimmed and halved
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • lb white button mushrooms, stems trimmed, wiped clean, and broken into 1/2-inch pieces
  • medium garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream


  1. 1 For the topping: Pulse bread, butter, salt, and pepper in food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 one-second pulses. Transfer to large bowl and toss with onions; set aside.

  2. 2  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

  3. 3  Fill large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 qts. of water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add two tbls. salt and the green beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Spread beans on paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

  4. 4  Add butter to now-empty Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/8 teaspoons pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. 5  Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3 quart (or 13 x 9") baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and bake until top is golden brown ans sauce is bubbling around edges, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

  6. 6  To prepare ahead: Store breadcrumb topping in an airtight container in the refrigerator and combine with the onion just before cooking. Combine the beans and cooled sauce in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, remove plastic wrap and heat casserole in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake as directed. This recipe can be halved and baked in a 2 quart (or 8" square) baking dish. Reduce cooking time of the sauce in Step 3 to about 6 minutes and the baking time in Step 4 to 10 minutes.


  1. I love green bean casserole (homemade)but I am with you....NO cream of mushroom soup!

  2. This looks great! I skip any recipe that includes canned soup. Blech.

  3. I've made french fried onions from scratch before it's not that hard really. I think there is a recipe on Allrecipes. come in case you want to try it.. Your casserole looks very yummy too bad I'm allergic to mushrooms.:(

  4. Thank you for that receipe!
    I am so happy to see that Drummer's eyes joined his sisters'on the left side of your blog!
    Take care!

  5. Sooo timely! I was going to make a very similar recipe for supper tonight! But I forgot the green beans when I was at the grocery store...and I'm not driving back into town (30 minutes) to get them! Will have to try it next week after my grocery store trip.

  6. i have made one just like this from martha but her recipie substituted homemade fried shallots instead of the canned ones. it is delish. can of mushroom soup is banned in this house...along with the boxed mac & cheese:)

  7. I can't wait to try this. I'm not a mushroom fan but this looks really good!

  8. Thank heavens for other cream of mushroom canned soup haters. I'd rather vomit then eat it. I live in Australia and celebrate Thanksgiving every year with my family as hubby is American. I was going to be handing out the food assignments and recipes out this week, and I will be using YOUR recipe for green bean casserole!!! I just hope the fried onions arrive in the post in time.....

  9. This isn't about the soup, but I had to comment! I saw Drummer's little eyes on your sidebar today and just squealed. LOL He is so darling. And when you look at just their eyes, features look most like Divine's! They are such beautiful kids.

  10. I can attest that this was YUMMY!

  11. I am shocked! But intrigued.

  12. Mushroom soup? I don't really get what mushroom soup has to do with casseroles. Do people combine those two? I'm really confused :)

    But this looks delicious!

  13. Yummy! Would love if you added this to our Thanksgiving Recipe Blog Hop and we are offering a prize to the recipe with the most votes! http://is.gd/4G4FKm

  14. Katy,
    I had to come back and tell you I made this for Christmas dinner at the in-laws. Rave reviews!! I married into a family ignorant of the bliss of a good green bean casserole. And to be so good without soups is astounding! This will be my new go to for gatherings. THANK YOU!!

    P.S. LOVE love love, the blog!

  15. Anna--So glad to help! :) That's great that you got to enlighten your family.

  16. The F Girl--YES! Can you believe it? It's a very common ingredient in quick casseroles. Using fresh ingredients makes all the difference.


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