It’s time people! Wooooo! Thanksgiving people! This is by far my favorite holiday of the year. What’s not to like? Food, family, booze, leftovers! It really doesn’t get much better than this.
Like most people I do love turkey. Every year my family makes two 25-pound turkeys; that’s how much we love it. However, I do look forward to our side dishes sometimes more than the turkey itself. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy. Mmmmmm…
However, I feel like I missed out on a Thanksgiving tradition had by most families—the ubiquitous Green Bean Casserole. Canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, those crispy onion strings. I never had it growing up. I’ve never had it as an adult. Just one of those great life experiences that just passed me by. To make up for all of the loss I experienced growing up without this infamous Thanksgiving side dish I recreated it and made the Updated Green Bean Casserole.
Why is this an update? For one, instead of using cream of mushroom soup this recipe has a creamy mushroom sauce with cremini mushrooms, shiitakes mushrooms, onions, wine and mascarpone cheese. Canned green beans? Hells to the no! I use gorgeous organic string beans provided by one of the pioneers of organic produce distribution Goodness Greeness. Fried Onion String from a can? No sir. I serve toasted, crunchy panko breadcrumbs on the side so all your friends who are gluten-free can also take part in this side dish. There wasn’t even such a thing as gluten intolerance when this casserole was born. I have brought this casserole into the year 2014. Boom!
Honestly, since I decided to make everything from scratch it is a little more time consuming than opening up a few cans and mixing it together. So be prepared! But I can guarantee your family will love this thing. I mean it is seriously good.
You need to first get delicious organic green beans. Trim the ends off and then blanch them. If you want to make the casserole ahead of time I recommend that you only blanch* them for 30 seconds so they stay nice and crunchy. That way when you bake the casserole the green beans won’t overcook.
*Blanching is when you cook something (usually vegetables) in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then immediately plunge it in ice water–also called shocking. It is a way to slightly cook vegetables while keeping them crispy and preserving the color.
The sauce is a combination of onions, milk, mascarpone cheese, sour cream and Parmigiano Reggiano. I also use two types of mushrooms cremini and shiitake. But please feel free to use any type of mushrooms: white button, portobello, oyster, maitake, beech mushrooms. They would all be lovely in this dish.
As I said earlier, I also left the panko breadcrumbs on the side so if any one is gluten-free they can enjoy it. On the other hand you can cover your plate with cripsy panko and put it on everything!! Nom nom! In addition, you’ll notice that there is no flour or roux in the sauce so everyone can partake. It also creates a lighter (relatively lighter) dish as far as Thanksgiving sides go.
So this really is an update. We are utilizing organic produce, being mindful of different allergies, using imported Italian cheeses and overall making it way more beautiful and tasty. Since I was robbed of having the classic Green Bean Casserole during my childhood I know I can’t really compare the two, but I’ll take this Update Green Bean Casserole any day.
- 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
- 1 medium onion, small dice
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 cup skim milk
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- ½ cup low fat sour cream
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place a large pot of water on the stove. Bring up to a boil and add enough salt so it tastes like the ocean.
- Blanch the green beans for 1 minute and then plunge into ice water to preserve the color and stop the cooking.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Then add the chopped onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add an additional 1 tbsp of olive to the pan. Then add both types of mushrooms. Sauté until browned and all the juices are released. Season again with salt and pepper.
- Next add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the wine until the alcohol has been cooked off, about 3-4 minutes.
- Next add the bay leaf and skim milk. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and allow to thicken slightly, about 2-3 minutes.
- Next add the mascarpone cheese, sour cream and ½ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir to combine.
- Add the green beans back to the pan with the mushroom sauce and stir until coated. Check for seasoning if needed.
- Place green beans in a large casserole pan (coat with non-stick cooking spray). Top with remaining ½ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano and bake for 30 minutes until sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
- In a separate small sauté pan add 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and stir until they are evenly coated and begin to toast.
- Once toasted remove the panko breadcrumbs from the pan.
- Serve the panko breadcrumbs on the side so guests can sprinkle as much as they would like on their portion of green bean casserole.