November 13, 2012

Green Bean Casserole, Real Food Style

Green Bean Casserole made completely from scratch, the perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving table.
I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for this week's posts. Let me just try and put my enthusiasm into words...

I am really excited for this week's posts. Understand?

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I think it has to do with the fact that I get to cook a lot (which if you couldn't tell, I love to cook). 

So for this week's posts, I picked out three classic Thanksgiving recipes that I would love to share with you. 

Next week will be pretty similar, though I have not decided whether or not I will be posting on Thanksgiving Day (for Happy & Healthy Thursdays).

In the meantime, I thought we should discuss one of my many favorite Thanksgiving side dishes: Green Bean Casserole.

This stuff just tastes okay if you make French's original recipe (don't tell them I said that). Here is why: It uses canned green beans, canned "cream-of" soup, and canned crunchy onions. I imagine it is slightly easier to make it their way, but it tastes so much better made from scratch with real food. My version uses fresh (or frozen) green beans, a homemade mushroom bacon cream sauce, and fresh fried crunchy onion straws. Are you drooling yet?
Just trust me on this one. If you were asked to bring green bean casserole to dinner on Thanksgiving, do yourself and everyone else a favor and make it from scratch. It is so worth it.
Green Bean Casserole made completely from scratch, the perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving table.

Green Bean Casserole

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) fresh or frozen whole green beans
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 1" pieces
For Mushroom Cream Sauce:
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
For Onion Strings:
  • 1 1/2 white onions
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 scant tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • oil for frying
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a two quart casserole dish, preferrably with butter.
  2. Steam green beans until they are fork tender. Drain and set aside (this step is only necessary if you are using fresh green beans).
  3. Cook bacon in heavy dutch oven over medium high heat until crisp. Remove from pan leaving about two tablespoons of bacon grease in pan.
  4. Saute sliced mushrooms, 1/2 an onion, and garlic in bacon grease until mushrooms are browned and onions are golden and translucent.
  5. Add butter to pan and allow to melt. Stir flour into butter and mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Slowly add in milk (keep stirring). Continue cooking over medium high heat until sauce has thickened. Stir in cream cheese, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.
  7. Once cream cheese has melted, remove sauce from heat and add in prepared green beans and cooked bacon pieces. Mix well. 
  8. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  9. In the meantime, slice onions for onion strings very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk. Let soak for at least ten minutes or up to one hour.
  10. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  11. Heat oil to 375 degrees.
  12. Grab a handful of onions and toss them in the flour mixture until completely coated. Shake off excess flour, and drop them carefully into the hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove onto a paper towel lined plate as soon as they are golden brown.
  13. Repeat until onions are gone.
  14. When casserole has finished baking remove from oven and top with fresh fried onion strings.
  15. Bake for an additional 3 minutes.
  16. Let cool for 10 minutes (the sauce will thicken slightly upon standing). Serve warm.
Recipe by Amanda Jenks (onion strings portion of recipe from The Pioneer Woman)
5 out of 5 stars

To make this an easier dish to prepare on Thanksgiving day, make the green bean casserole from steps one through seven the night before and refrigerate in prepared pan. Make onion strings and bake on Thanksgiving day.

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  1. Love that you posted this. I always make a "real food" version of green bean casserole for Thanksgiving but cheat with the onion topping. I've been thinking about how to do it right this year -- thanks for the pointers.

    1. Thank you Denise! By the way, love your site. I will be following it from now on! Your recipes look fantastic.

  2. This looks great Amanda. I am going to try it on Thanksgiving. I am probably the only person in the world that has never had Green Bean Casserole. So many people consider it a "Tradition" but the tasteless canned green beans and cream soup turned me off and I have never tried it. I am liking your sauce a lot (I'll eat anything with cream cheese in it) and am going to give this a try this Thanksgiving> I am thinking that I might put a few additional piece of bacon in with the green beans when I cook them. Ilike to simmer them in water rather than steam. Thanks for sharing this! I would love to have you stop by The Wilderness Wife Blog and share this with my readers on the Wicked Good Wednesday Blog Party. It starts on Wednesday but runs all week!

    1. Thank you for the invite! I have been browsing your blog lately and it all looks so delish :) I will definitely stop by and share this at your party.

  3. Wow, this looks so much better than the can recipe! Totally trying this one soon. Thanks for linking up to Show & Share Wednesday, I'm sharing this tonight on my Facebook page:


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