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 b├ęchamel 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.

Posted by on November 22, 2015

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