Homemade Green Bean Casserole

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It is that time of the year to start eating big, warm, gooey casseroles. The cold wind is blowing outside, and I am refusing to leave the warmth of indoor heating.  However, sticking my hands and head in the oven to get out a warm, bubbly casserole is a lovely way to get warm. I have some understanding on Sylvia Plath in the winter months.

So it’s the time for casseroles: with lots of cheese and carbs- and maybe a few vegetables if we are trying to get on Santa’s nice list. One good old favorite casserole for the holiday season is the classic green bean casserole.

Every one seems to love a good green bean casserole- even botany.  And while there is nothing wrong with making green been casserole from mushroom soup and using the canned fried onions, if you love to cook, green bean casserole from scratch is absolutely delicious- and not really that much more difficult. This is perfect for any upcoming holiday celebration- and even better, all the components can be made ahead of time with just a quick bake before serving.

Santa, I am possibly interested in a stocking full of fried onions.  Let’s talk.

HOMEMADE GREEN BEEN CASSEROLE
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

4-5 shallots, thinly sliced
Flour, for dredging
Oil, for deep frying
1 – 1 1/2 pounds hairicot verts
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 pounds mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram

DIRECTIONS

In a small saucepan, fill oil about 2 inches high.  Heat to 375°F. Dredge shallots in flour.  Shake off excess.  Fry for about 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining shallots. Set aside.  You can make the shallots the night before- just keep stored in layers on paper towels in an air tight container.

Prepare your hairicot verts (or normal green beans).  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Working in batches, boil the green beans for about 1-3 minutes.  Immediately transfer to ice water.  Remove from ice water.  Set aside.

Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and cook mushrooms until tender, seasoning with salt and pepper (you may need to do this in batches depending how large of a pan you have).  Combine in a bowl with green beans.

In a saucepan, melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add leeks and cook until tender, seasoning with salt and pepper, about 5-8 minutes.  Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Slow whisk in milk and chicken/vegetable stock.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened about 5-8 minutes.  Stir in marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour sauce over green beans and mushrooms.  Stir together and put in casserole dish.  This can also be stored overnight covered in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Sprinkle fried shallots on top of casserole.  Bake until warm and bubbly, about 10-18 minutes.

Corn, Green Bean, and Blueberry Salad

This is summer in a bowl.  All of the sweet produce of summer is cooked together and lightly dressed.  It’s fresh, light, and lovely.

I love salads like this where you throw vegetables and fruit together (not necessarily always with lettuce, don’t limit yourself!), but this summer salad is taken to the next level with the toasted hazelnuts.  Don’t forgo the hazelnuts.  I was planning on leaving them out, but by pure chance- or fate- I had some hazelnuts already sitting in the fridge left from my hazelnut macarons (yummm, those are coming soon).  The crunchiness and nuttiness really adds a whole new nuance to this salad.  And if you are feeling a little indulgent, some warm goat cheese stirred in would also be delicious.

Now get a move on- summer is almost over and you haven’t made this yet!

CORN, GREEN BEAN, AND BLUEBERRY SALAD
Adapted from The Chew
INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 ears of corn, shucked
2 cups green beans, cut into thirds
1 spring onion, chopped
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crumbled goat cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, corn, and green beans.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until corn begins to develop some color.  Add leeks and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Turn off heat and carefully stir in blueberries, honey, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  Top with toasted hazelnuts and crumbled goat cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 3-5 as a side dish.