Thursday, November 28, 2013

Green Bean Casserole (From Scratch)

                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                         
Green bean casserole is a standard offering on countless holiday menus here in America. With the advent of the holiday season, it is only right that I share with you the following recipe. The ingredients used in this green bean casserole are fresh (nothing canned here). With fresh ingredients, the result is bound to be delicious, not to mention the satisfaction you'll get from preparing this dish-from scratch. I've been using this recipe for years, with perfect results each time. If I can do it, so can you. Here's what you'll need...

Serving Size: Feeds 6-8 comfortably.

Equipment:
-Deep frying pan (for frying your onions)
-Large sauce pan
-Large mixing bowl.
-Medium sauce pan.
-Medium sauté pan.
-2 1/2-Quart deep oven safe dish, lightly buttered.
-Candy thermometer (to test the readiness of your oil for frying).
-2 Small dishes.
                                                                                      

Ingredients:
-1 1/4 lbs fresh green beans.
-10 Oz. Button mushrooms (wiped clean with a clean damp kitchen cloth and sliced thinly).
-3 tablespoons finely diced onions.
-3 large sweet onions, thinly sliced.
-1 cup half-and-half (you can substitute this with evaporated milk. NOT sweetened, condensed milk).
-1 cup chicken stock or chicken broth.
-1 teaspoon Soy sauce.
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
-1 salt and pepper to taste.
-1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional).
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter.
-1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour.
-Odorless vegetable oil for frying (I used Canola oil).
-1/2 cup milk.
                                                                               

Instructions:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celcius).
-Fill the large mixing bowl 3/4 way full with water, and add about 2 cups of ice-cubes. Set aside.
-Wash your green beans and cut them in half cross-wise.
-In the large saucepan, bring about 4 cups of water and about 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil over high heat.
-Add the green beans and cook until tender crisp (about 8 minutes).
-Transfer the green beans to the mixing bowl with ice and water. Doing this stops the green beans from cooking further and also helps them keep their bright green color. This step is called "shocking". Let the beans sit in the cold water for about 5 minutes.
-Remove the beans from the ice water and dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside.
-In the medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
-Add the mushrooms to the butter and cook, stirring until they give off their moisture and are browned (about 7 minutes).
                                                                                
-Stir in the 3 tablespoons of diced onions and cook them until they are translucent (about 3 minutes).
-Sprinkle in the 3 tablespoons of flour and stir well, making sure there are no lumps.
-Slowly stir in the half-and-half (or evaporated milk), chicken stock, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Bring this sauce to a boil, stirring frequently.
-Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, until it thickens. Stir often during this time.
                                                                                        
-Stir in the green beans and season with salt and pepper.
-Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
                                                                                      
NOTE: The casserole can be prepared up to this point up to a day ahead of time, covered and refrigerated.

-Place the baking dish in the center rack of the oven and bake until the liquid is bubbling, about 20 minutes (30 minutes if the green beans were prepared the previous day and refregerated).

While your casserole is baking, prepare the French-fried onions.

Instructions for preparing the French-fried onions:

-Sepetate the onion slices into rings.
-In your frying pan, heat  2 inches of cooking oil. Use your candy thermometer to check that the oil has reached a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celcius). If you do not have a candy thermometer, use the handle of a wooden spoon or a wooden chopstick. When the oil has been preheated, dip the handle of a wooden spoon or chopstick into the oil. If the oil starts steadily bubbling around the handle , then the oil is hot enough for frying.
-Place milk in a small dish.
-In the other small bowl, place the 1 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
-Dip the onion rings in the milk, then coat in the flour. Shake of any excess flour. Repeat to coat twice.
                                                                                 
-Cook the onions in the hot oil for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Cook them in batches to avoid crowding. Drain thoroughly on paper towels.
                                                                                     
-Remove the casserole from the oven, scatter the fried onions on top, and serve. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: This dish is a wonderful accompaniment to roasted turkey or chicken.