Pounds and pounds of foods you don’t normally eat.
Lots and lots of family.
And, if you’re lucky, lots of wine.
Holidays are full of traditions. Who cuts the turkey, who starts the “I’m thankful for….” conversation, who gets drunk in the kitchen first and insults Aunt Edna. You know, normal, healthy family things.
Green bean casserole is one of those traditions.
My my parents are staunch teetotalers, and green bean casserole is all I have. (I know, right? Thanksgiving without wine is like…Thanksgiving without green bean casserole. Or something. I wouldn’t really know.).
There are two ways to make Green Bean Casserole. There’s the one you’re already familiar with–you can find it on the side of the can of fried onions.
Or you can make Alton Brown’s recipe for “Not Your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole.”
Alton Brown, I love you. But this is a lot.
I tweaked the recipe a little–after all, who has time to make their own French fried onions?
Gather the ingredients:
- 1 pound fresh green beans
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- box of sliced mushrooms
- heaping spoon of minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons AP flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup half-and-half
- can of fried onions
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
Begin with fresh green beans. Fresh! In a green bean casserole!
I know, right?
Okay, fresh green beans.
Rinse them, snap off the ends, and then snap them in half so that they’re about 2-3″ long.
Put a big pot of water on to boil. When it’s at a rolling boil, throw them in and boil until you get the consistency desired. If you like fresh tasting, still got texture green beans, then 5-6 minutes is good. If you like your green beans boiled all to hell and mushy, keep them in there 10-14 minutes.
While the green beans are boiling, grab a cast iron skillet and put the butter in there.
Get out your box of mushrooms,
and put in the hot, buttered skillet. Give them a good toss so that each one is coated.
Once they start to sweat and release liquid (after about 5 minutes of sautéing), they should look like this:
Add the nutmeg and garlic.
Stir it all in and let it cook for about a minute.
Then sprinkle the 2T of AP flour on the mushrooms.
Toss to coat. Let it cook for another minute.
Add the chicken broth.
Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
After it starts bubbling, add the half-and-half.
Let all that simmer–stirring often!–until it reaches a thick consistency.
Folks, we just made our own cream of mushroom soup.
Take that, Campbell’s.
Okay, while the soup simmers–and you keep stirring it–grate the cheese.
By now, the green beans should be done, so drain them and immerse them in cold water.
If you’re going to skip a step, this is the one to skip.
But don’t skip it just because I said it’s ok to. I just understand how holiday prep is.
Allrighty, the soup/sauce should be thickened by now, so add the green beans, half of the cheese, and half of the can of the onions.
I’ll say it again: there is no shame in canned fried onions.
Mix it all in.
Pour it into a casserole dish. If you’re like me and have (almost) no upper body strength, you may need a friend to help you tip up that skillet.
Sprinkle it with the remaining cheese.
And the remaining onions.
Bake in a preheated 450 oven for 15 minutes.
Be careful–those yummy onions will burn if you leave it in there a blink longer than 15 minutes.
Folks, it was pretty good.
But it wasn’t great. And if you’re going to make your own from scratch cream of mushroom soup on Thanksgiving, it’s got to be better than pretty. It’s got to be spectacular.
So here’s my thoughts: Don’t waste your precious minutes making this. Just dump the Campbells cream of mushroom in with the canned green beans, those damnedly delicious fried onions (ok, I may have a little problem), and toss it all in the oven.
And then go spend some time playing with your kids. Or thinking up what the hell it is you’re going to be thankful for this year.
suck it, martha.