We have all eaten some version of string bean casserole. Campbell’s advertises their cream of mushroom soup around the holidays just for that purpose. You’ll even find a recipe on the back of the can. I happen to find canned creamy soup unappetizing so I set out last Thanksgiving to make string bean casserole from scratch–no preservatives or canned anything. It was worth the extra effort. I promise.
Photos courtesy of Lisa Effren Photography.
*You can make this in a cast iron pan but we don’t have one big enough.
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (use 3 if you want to snack-it’s hard not to eat them)
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper
Canola oil, for frying
3 tablespoons or so butter
1 package of mushrooms, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream or similar substitute
1.5 lbs of fresh string beans, trimmed and cleaned
Using a mandolin, cut your onion into thin strips.
Toss the onions with the flour, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a pan and test the temperature by dropping one onion in. It should sizzle.
Only cook a handful or so at a time in small batches. Place the finished ones on a paper bag lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. *Beware: hide these somewhere while you compile the rest of the dish- or they will somehow disappear.
Par boil the string beans in salted water and then place in a ice bath to stop the cooking. The last thing we want are mushy string beans.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
To make the mushroom sauce:
Over medium-high heat, melt butter in the bottom of a pan or cast iron skillet. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and saute them for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, shallots and saute one minute more.
Add the flour and combine.
Add the broth a little at a time and keep stirring. Let it simmer for a minute or so, add the cream and bring to a simmer again while stirring. In about 5 minutes or so the sauce should thicken.
Pour the mixture over the string beans in a baking dish. Add onions and bake until everything bubbles – about 15 minutes.