It’s Not Thanksgiving Without The Casserole

Green bean casserole is a mainstay of any Thanksgiving dinner table. However, different families approach this dish in a variety of ways. Some pour all the vegetables and French-fried onions out of cans, while others insist on preparing each ingredient themselves. If you’re learning to cook, it may be time you discovered your own approach to this quintessential side dish.

Prepare the beans
Many families have successfully made casseroles for years  with canned or frozen green beans. However, the Pioneer Woman recommended going with fresh veggies to achieve the best flavor. Blanch them so you’ll have green beans that are pleasantly tender without losing their firmness.

Remove the ends from the green beans and cook in boiling water with a little salt for three to four minutes. Then, take the beans out of the pot and set them in ice water. Drain the beans and set them aside.

Cook the topping
A homemade topping adds taste and texture to the casserole. Alton Brown’s recipe called for mixing sliced onions, bread crumbs, flour and kosher salt. Set the combination on a sheet pan and heat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for half an hour, waiting for the onions to become a golden brown.

Customize your casserole with your favorite fresh or packaged ingredients.Customize your casserole with your favorite fresh or packaged ingredients.

Make the gravy
Crafting your own sauce is far more satisfying than any can of cream of mushroom soup. The Kitchn gave directions for making a gravy by sauteing chopped mushrooms in butter on a medium-high heat. After about five minutes, add two cloves of minced garlic for another minute.

Stir a quarter cup of flour into the mushrooms and cook for two minutes. Mix in chicken broth, milk, soy sauce, black pepper and grated nutmeg. Simmer for up to five minutes or until the gravy thickens.

Add green beans and a quarter of the onions and stir. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, topping with the rest of the onions. Set the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Look for the sauce to bubble and the topping to become golden. Then, let the casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Whether you want to stick to the cooking basics by using prepared ingredients or get more adventurous, green bean casserole makes a great side dish for the holidays. Once you master the essentials, try experimenting with additional flavors like bacon, cheese and spices to bring more excitement to the table.

One Comment

  1. I love green bean casserole, but love the idea of making it from scratch. How much of each ingredient is used in your recipe?

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