Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 - Green Bean Casserole Time

I realize this is a little late, but I have some great Thanksgiving recipes for you.

The good news is most of these dishes, you can make anytime of year. Of course you are welcome to make a huge turkey and gravy anytime of year, but those dishes are better left to have something to look forward to each November.

My parents visited for Thanksgiving this year which I could not be more excited about. When preparing a Thanksgiving feast, little to no consideration goes into how many people will be at my table. My turkey is 13 lbs, they only sell Yukon Gold potatoes by the 1 1/2 lb, and 1/2 of my aunts stuffing recipe still contains 2 lbs of beef. The good news is, I am hosting this dinner at my place this year which makes for quick and easy storage of leftovers to eat for weeks! There was a cutthroat process to limit f=down the dishes that ended up making it onto the table. I recently painted a wall in my kitchen with chalkboard paint, and I decided to map out the meal there.

I wrote out all my ideas and then went all "politician" on it, making "line-by-line" cuts to the budget...the only difference is, I actually did make cuts, significant cuts like slashing the rum cake, succotash and mac and cheese.

Truth be told, I wanted to be sure to make some dishes I haven't made before so that I could share them on my blog. That is something I really appreciate about keeping this blog; it keeps me on my toes, trying new things instead of getting to complacent with my cooking comfort zone.

Green bean casserole is something I wanted to make from scratch this year. My dad has always been responsible for this dish when my whole family gets together, and it solely consists of cans: canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, canned fried onions...oh a bag of chopped pecans as well. Now, don't get me wrong. I have learned to love this "dump and go" green bean casserole over the years, but I wanted to try to make it from scratch to see how it holds up. I used a popular recipe from Alton Brown, and I dare to say it was worth the extra effort. I may tweak it a bit next year by adding more green beans and also adding pecans (the way my dad does), but I highly suggest this recipe for the essential Thanksgiving dish.

I am particularly confident in recommending this recipe because it happened to be Zach's favorite dish at the table this year, even though he does not like green beans. There are several more recipes where this came from so stay tuned!

Alton Brown's Best Ever Green Bean Casserole

(recipe from Food Network's Alton Brown - serves 6)

For the topping:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Nonstick cooking spray
For beans and sauce:
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.


Kristin Trimble said...

Everything looks good! I love the simplicity of the table layout.

The Boston Lady said...

He doesn't like green beans!!?? I'm always the last to know. I can see I will have to try this reciped while he is home at Christmas to see if I can make one up to your great standards. Your table looks lovely and I'm so glad your parents were able to share the holiday with you. Fantastic job. Ann

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