I know, it’s the middle of summer and not a holiday, where you usually expect to see a green bean casserole, but the garden keeps giving and there are only so many things to do with green beans. We don’t care for sour green bean salads, so that doesn’t leave much else. Although we are both familiar with that casserole made with canned soup and canned fried onions, it was never a fetish at either of our parents’ homes on holidays, so I feel free to make it my own without violating any holiday rituals. If you have air conditioning during this hot summer, you might want to try this dish now when it’s not overshadowed by a holiday turkey.
I made one big change to the beloved casserole which might seem like heresy to you if it is a staple at your holiday—no French fried onions! Instead, I sautéed thinly sliced onions until brown before adding the mushrooms and beans to a white sauce. Another option would be to caramelize the onions for a richer addition. Still the dish needed a topping, so I used buttered fresh breadcrumbs—a nice choice.
Green beans can be Frenched in your food processor by stacking them in the chute and using the slicing blade. I don’t know where I learned this, but I’m sure it was some Internet tip that has saved us from slicing beans individually. The resulting beans are surprisingly well-sliced, if not perfect. Even if you don’t make the casserole, just making French style green beans is a nice change if you have been overwhelmed by your garden this summer. Another benefit is that the beans cook more quickly when sliced.
Garden Green Bean Casserole
Preheat oven to 350°
- 3-4 cups fresh green beans, stem end removed
- 1 medium or 2 small onions, thinly sliced
- 10 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- salt & pepper to taste
- Crumb topping: 1.5 cups fresh breadcrumbs tossed with 4 tablespoons melted butter
- Stack green beans lengthwise in chute of food processor. All my beans fit without trimming, but you could cut them to fit if needed. Using medium slicing blade, press beans through. I had to fill the chute three times.
- Toss the cut beans in boiling water and simmer for about 6 minutes or until the beans begin to wilt. Drain and set aside.
- In large skillet, sauté onions over medium heat in 4 tablespoons butter until browned. Stir in sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté until mushrooms are cooked down, their liquid has evaporated, and they have browned.
- Stir flour into onion, mushroom, butter mixture until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. The mixture will be dry and clumpy, but that’s fine.
- Stir in milk, continuing to stir until all the flour mixture is distributed and smooth. Simmer, stirring, until the sauce is thickened.
- Stir in the cooked green beans.
- Pour into baking dish and top with crumb mixture.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until crumbs are nicely browned.