Green Bean Casserole with Mushroom Cream Gravy

Blanched fresh green beans, chilled mushroom cream gravy, and buttered bread and fried onion topping
Ingredients prepped for green bean casserole

This is not the “authentic” American pantry casserole with condensed canned soup and bland canned vegetables. This uses fresh vegetables and rich butter and cream and ok, some canned fried onions.

The original source made about 10-12 servings. That was not enough for us. This is one of the classic dishes people often ask for seconds even with our traditionally crowded Thanksgiving menu.
Also, if I’m making something more fiddly than usual, I like to make enough to have leftovers to send home with guests and still have enough to enjoy for a few meals here too.

We’ve always tried to figure out how to divide up the time-intensive prep steps for Thanksgiving so we could use the oven efficiently on the day. That’s likely to pay off in our distributed cooking model this year. The original recipe has two pages of information on why the canned fried onions were fine and what kind of green beans work. We like using fresh when we can, but in a pandemic I think defrosted, drained frozen ones mixed with pre-made chilled gravy and dividing it up into smaller pans for baking at home after delivery will be fine.

The gravy is so rich, the green beans still have some color and flavor, and the topping is a great crunch


Ingredients

Mushroom Cream Gravy:

  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 lbs. fresh mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/3 flour
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 c. vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 c. heavy cream

Topping:

  • 8 slices sandwich bread
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cans (6 oz. each) “French Fried” Onions

Beans:

  • 4 lbs. fresh (or defrosted, drained, frozen – large cut, if possible) green beans


Directions

Mushroom Gravy – can be done a day or two ahead and refrigerated

  1. Melt butter over medium heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, 1/2 Tbsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper; cook until mushrooms release liquid and moisture evaporates, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly (don’t let it scorch).
  3. Add cream, reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is thickened, still stirring to make sure it doesn’t scorch. Reduce to 7 cups, which may take 10-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Fresh beans:

  1. Trim the ends off the beans and remove strings, if they seem tough.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add salt and beans. Cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 6 minutes.
  3. Drain beans in colander and plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Spread out in a lined sheet to drain.

OR frozen beans:

  1. Defrost and drain in a colander, spread out on a paper towel or tea towel if they seem damp.

Topping:

  1. Pulse bread, butter, salt, and pepper in a food processor until they’re coarse crumbs – about 10 1 second pulses. You can try a blender if you don’t have a food processor – of you don’t have that, try crumbling with your hands but don’t mash the fresh bread crumbs.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with onions.

Casserole time!

  1. Mix gravy and beans together, spread in a greased pan .
  2. Sprinkle with topping and bake at 425℉ for 15 minutes (or longer if you start with cold gravy). It should be bubbling and golden. Serve warm.

Photos

check captions for steps

6 Comments Add yours

  1. This is lovely redux, and I’m sure it tastes fresh and delicious! Our family detests that original canned casserole. We had it a few years at Thanksgiving when my brother’s first wife used to bring it. After a couple of tastes, no one ate it but her! They divorced, and we were no longer subjected to it. It sure does have a good PR department!

    1. kitchentourist says:

      I’m sure some people grow up with a lot of canned Campbell’s cream soups and get used to them. But my mom grew up on a farm and even living in Chicago we grow our own green beans, so I just can’t handle the bland gross texture of overcooked, under-flavored vegetables when there’s a better option.

      1. Have a lovely Thanksgiving, whatever its size!

      2. kitchentourist says:

        I hope you do as well!

  2. Geri Lawhon says:

    Great looking substitute for the usual green bean casserole. Thanks for the photos and the recipe.

  3. kitchentourist says:

    Thanks! We’ll be doing an even bigger batch of it this year, since we’re doing a “take-out Thanksgiving feast” for the local friends we would love to invite over but can’t safely have at our table in these circumstances. The plan is to use frozen green beans to cut down on that part of the prep work & assemble it in small disposable pans so people can bake it at home when they like.

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