If you go through the trouble of opening a can of condensed soup, you save about 20 minutes of work for yourself. But you gain a healthy dose of yeast extract, MSG, and other questionable ingredients. Plus you miss a golden opportunity.
One the greatest losses that we have in our home kitchens nowadays is an understanding of simple sauces and gravies. They aren’t even hard to make; we just haven’t learned how.
I know that green bean casserole is traditionally a Thanksgiving recipe, but every year when I make it from scratch, I vow that I will make it more often than once a year. It is so worth it. And green bean casserole just happens to be an excellent example of how to use basic sauce knowhow to make a spectacular dish. (Especially when so many people rely on those cans of soup!)The mushroom sauce used as the base for this green bean casserole is a little mind blowing, I’m not gonna lie. Perhaps that’s because I love mushrooms so much that they can do no wrong, but perhaps it is also my perpetual amazement with how good fresh, clean, simple ingredients can taste.
The mushroom sauce is the heart of the dish, providing depth and great flavor. You cook the aromatic onions and mushrooms together with grass-fed butter until they are tender, then you add cream and flour, thicken it over the heat, and season it to perfection. From there, you really can’t go wrong.
That doesn’t even get us to the homemade crispy shoestring onions that go on top. You’ll never buy the canned onions again. Plus, I don’t make you go through all the rigmarole of deep frying the onions in a pot of oil. A simpler method: cast iron skillet, a few inches of melted palm shortening or coconut oil and you’re good to go without messing with thermometers or the waste of good traditional fats.
- measuring cups and spoons
- large cast iron skillet, wooden spoon
- large mixing bowl
- 9×13 or 10×14 casserole dish
Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 4 tablespoons butter, divided
32 ounces mushrooms, half white button and half crimini, sliced
2 onions, chopped
up to 1/2 cup sprouted flour or arrowroot powder
4 cups cream
salt and pepper to taste
12 cups green beans, steamed
1 cup flour
1 cup arrowroot powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 onions, halved and very thinly sliced, then separated into pieces
palm shortening or tallow for frying
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large 9x 13 or 10×14 pan and set aside.
- Make the mushroom sauce: In a large cast iron skillet, melt the 1/2 cup of butter and saute the mushrooms and onions together over medium high heat until the onions have a little color, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, stirring to melt completely. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the sauteed mixture, stirring to coat completely. Cook for 2 minutes to take the raw taste out of the flour.
- Whle continuing to stir with one hand, pour the cream into the pan in a slow, steady stream, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan as you go.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and stir until it’s thickened up nicely, about 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour sauce into a large mixing bowl. Pour the steamed green beans on top of the sauce, and stir to combine completely. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and set aside.
- In a large cast iron skillet, melt 2 cups or so of palm shortening, enough to make 2 inches of depth to fry the onions. Keep the heat on medium high while you get the onions ready.
- Make the shoestring onions: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, arrowroot, salt and pepper together. Toss the onions in the mixture to coat completely.
- Shake off the excess flour mixture and fry in the hot palm oil until nice and browned. Remove and let drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Taste and add a little salt if needed.
- Sprinkle the shoestring onions over the top of the casserole. Bake the green bean casserole for 15-20 minutes until nice and bubbly. Serve immediately.