Sunday, November 22, 2015

Green Bean Casserole with Homemade Cream Sauce

Green Bean Casserole made with a homemade, butter roux based cream sauce, enhanced with bacon, fresh vegetables and mushrooms.
Green Bean Casserole made with a homemade, butter roux based cream sauce, enhanced with bacon, fresh vegetables and mushrooms.

Green Bean Casserole with Homemade Cream Sauce

Let me first clarify here before anything else, that I have no opposition to cream soups. None. Nada. I have them in my pantry and I use them all the time - always have, always will.

And, like bacon, sausage, deli meats, bologna, hot dogs, red meat, grilled and otherwise, and all those other things somebody else is always trying to tell us that we shouldn't be eating, I love the cream soups! They are convenient and tasty and Southerners have been using them as a shortcut cream sauce in recipes since they were created, somewhere around the early 1930s. I suspect we always will. There's a reason our southern béchamel has been around for this long y'all!

I'm really glad today that we have freedom of choice to do what we like, and, in fact, even though I decided to make a fresh cream sauce this year, I also wanted my homemade version to come pretty close to tasting like the classic cream soup version so many of us are endeared to, so there's isn't a bunch of frou-frou in my recipe either - like a boatload of thickly sliced mushrooms, highly caramelized onions, and 999 various herbs and seasonings that make it taste like something totally different.

Also, while I don't mind fresh or frozen green beans, and I've made several green bean casseroles with them, cut, whole and even french style, I always come back to the canned, cut green beans. It's the texture I like and expect, though you certainly should use your own favorite. Don't think for a second that I'm skipping the fried onions either, because, well... I like my green bean casserole with them and frankly I don't find homemade onion strings to be anywhere close to the same.

The sauce here is just a basic butter based roux, similar to the Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole I just posted, so truly it's not any trouble to make. I based it on my version of homemade condensed cream of mushroom soup essentially, which I think has a proper balance of veggies. The only different is that I used fresh mushrooms this time because I had them in the fridge. Don't slice them - finely chop them.

Couple of notes. Most of you know that I prefer to use unsalted butter in my cooking, with few exceptions. There is so much sodium present in so many other things we all use to cook with these days. Unfortunately folks don't tend to think of that until they taste a finished product and realize it's far too salty because they didn't factor that in. I often lean toward lower sodium products where I can use them because of this, so that I can control any added salt.

You've probably also noticed I prefer kosher salt primary over table salt for cooking. I actually had a fella who took the time to email me that I wasn't a true southerner because I didn't use the umbrella girl salt. Well, while I give y'all measurements, I prefer to use pinches in my cooking, and with kosher salt you can feel how much salt is in your fingers. For times I only need a cup or two of broth, I also usually make it from Better than Bouillon, and often add no to very little salt, such as the case here. Remember, always be mindful of all sources of salt in the products you use, taste first, before adding any salt, and then only add a little, taste and adjust.

If you don't have so large of a crowd, this casserole halves beautifully and my photographs here are actually of a halved recipe, though I swear I could eat a whole 9 x 13 pan of it all on my own.

Recipe: Green Bean Casserole with Homemade Cream Sauce

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 35 min
Total time: 50 min
Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 3 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces OR 4 (14.5 ounce) cans, cut green beans, drained
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2/3 cup finely minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced celery
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey stock or broth
  • 2/3 cup half and half or milk
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste, only if needed
  • 2 cups French fried onions (like French's), divided

If using fresh green beans, cut, then blanch first in a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes; drain and plunge into a large bowl of ice water until cooled. Drain again and set aside. Skip this step for frozen or canned beans. Butter a 4 quart (9 x 13 inch) baking dish; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook bacon in a large deep skillet until crisp; remove to a paper towel to drain. Once cooled, chop. To the bacon drippings add the onion and celery, cooking until tender, about 3 minutes; add mushrooms and cook another minute. Add the butter and stir in the flour, cooking for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, a little at a time until well blended. Add the half and half, soy sauce and black pepper, until blended. Add green beans, half of the chopped bacon and 1/2 cup of the fried onions; gently folding until beans are coated. Taste, adding salt only if needed.

Transfer to casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle top of casserole with remaining fried onions, using more or less as desired, and return to the oven for about 5 minutes longer, or until onions are lightly browned. Remove and garnish with remaining bacon.

Cook's Notes: You may use any style or type of green bean for this recipe, frozen or canned, so use whatever your favorite is. Blanching is not necessary for frozen; simply allow to thaw. Canned mushrooms may also be substituted for fresh.

Green Beans Supreme: Substitute one (8 ounce) container of full fat sour cream for 1 cup of the chicken broth, adding additional half and half or milk as needed to loosen sauce. Top casserole with 1/2 cup shredded cheese and mix 1/4 cup of soft bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle on top of cheese. Add remaining fried onions on top, or omit.


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©Deep South Dish
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Check These Recipes Out Too Y’all!

Homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
Browned Butter Green Beans with Bacon and Pecans
Old Fashioned Slow Stewed Southern Green Beans
Classic Green Bean Casserole
Posted by on November 22, 2015

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