Friday, January 13, 2012

Green Bean Casserole

This is easily the best green bean casserole I have ever eaten.  I made it for a family Christmas gathering last month, and everyone loved it.  I doubled the recipe because we were having a crowd and ended up with two casserole - one a very full (too full) 9" x 13" baking dish and the other an 8" square baking dish.  The photos are not very good because I was honestly more concerned with getting everything ready for the party instead of taking pictures.  And, I am not a huge fan of green bean casserole, so I wasn't really expecting to post it.  But, even I loved it, so I have to share.  It is a recipe I adapted from The Pioneer Woman.  Basically, I left out the onions because I don't really like them, added mushrooms, some butter to the panko, and changed the procedure a bit.  I'm sure the original is wonderful too, but I am one of those people who have a hard time not doing things my own way.  Next time you need a vegetable casserole, you should try this!

Here are the green beans after they were cooked and drained.  I like them what I call crisp/tender.  It is a little more cooked than blanched, but not overcooked or limp.

Here is the cream sauce just as I am beginning to stir in the cheese.

This is the 9" x 13" casserole after everything is mixed and poured in.

This is the 8" square casserole after it was baked.

Green Bean Casserole
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

2 pounds fresh green beans, strung and snapped into bite sized pieces
4 slices bacon, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. mushrooms, chopped (I used baby bellas)
1/2 cup butter, divided
4 Tbsp. all purpose flour
21/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
11/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 4 oz. jar sliced pimentos, drained
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Boil the green beans until just crisp/tender.  Drain and let cool.  Cook the bacon, mushrooms, and garlic in a large skillet until the bacon is done. Set aside.  In a medium saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat.  Whisk the flour into the butter until well combined.  Add milk and half and half whisking as you pour.  Whisk constantly until the sauce comes to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook about 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and and add salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cheese, and stir until the cheese is completely melted.about 2 minutes. Stir in pimentos, bacon mixture, and green beans. Stir until the mixture is well combined.  Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour over green beans and stir gently to combine.  Melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter and toss with the panko bread crumbs.  Sprinkle on top of the green beans and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

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Green Bean Casserole