BA’s Best Green Bean Casserole

Nov 15, 2022 | Main Course, Recipes, Vegetarian

ACTIVE TIME:  30 minutes             TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 35 minutes

 

For many, no Thanksgiving is complete without a classic green bean casserole. According to Campbell’s Soup Company, which is responsible for the original recipe, it’s served at 20 million tables every year. There are many variations of this perfect side dish out there, including ones made with canned soup and canned green beans, some made in slow cookers, those finished with cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs, and, of course, the one known as French’s Green Bean Casserole, which is topped with the brand’s signature Crispy Fried Onions.

In 2016, our own Chris Morocco set out to develop his version of the ideal homemade green bean casserole recipe. He swapped out Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup for fresh, sliced criminis and a béchamel finished with Parmesan, which captures the intensity of just-seared mushrooms as well as all the umami potential of the nutty aged cheese. Well-browned mushrooms are crucial for building flavor here, so make sure not to salt them until they’ve reached a dark brown hue (salting them too soon will lead to soggy, steamed ’shrooms instead). Chris’s recipe also calls for fresh green beans instead of canned to maintain a crisp-tender (never mushy) texture.

As for the crunchy finish on top of the bean mixture that everyone is vying for at the Thanksgiving table? You can make your own with fried shallots, but those bottled crispy fried onions from French’s are famous for a reason: They are astonishingly delicious and practically define this recipe, so we didn’t mess with them here.

While many a casserole dish can be made ahead of time, this one is best made the day of, so plan accordingly and use the bake time to work on other classic holiday side dishes, like mashed potatoes, and putting the finishing touches on a savory sweet potato casserole.

 

Ingredients:

8 servings
2 lb. green beans

Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lb. crimini mushrooms, sliced, divided
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
4 large sprigs thyme
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1¼ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ cup grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup French’s fried onions
 

Preparation

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°. Working in batches, cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green and halfway to tenderness, about 3 minutes per batch. Drain and let cool; trim stem ends.

Step 2

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook half of mushrooms, without stirring, until golden brown underneath, about 2 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes more. Add 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 thyme sprigs to pan. Cook, tossing occasionally, until butter browns and mushrooms are dark brown and very tender, about 4 minutes longer. Season with salt and transfer to a plate. Repeat with 2 Tbsp. butter, salt, and remaining oil, mushrooms, and thyme.

Step 3

Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium-low. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking occasionally, until roux is golden brown and smells mildly nutty, about 4 minutes. Whisk in milk and cream. Increase heat and bring to a simmer, whisking often, and cook until béchamel sauce is thick and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in garlic and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Arrange green beans and mushrooms in a 2-qt. baking dish. Pour sauce over (it may not look like enough, but it will get saucier as it bakes). Cover tightly with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling, 25–30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until casserole is lightly browned on top and around the edges, 15–20 minutes longer. Top with fried onions and continue to bake just until onions are slightly darker and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes to set before serving.

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