Green bean casserole is a classic dish that many Americans enjoy on Thanksgiving. It is a simple yet satisfying combination of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and crispy fried onions. But how can you make it even better? Here are some tips and tricks to help you create the perfect green bean casserole for your holiday feast.
The first step to making a great green bean casserole is to choose the right kind of green beans. You can use canned green beans, but they tend to be mushy and bland. Fresh or frozen green beans are a better option, as they have more flavor and texture. If you use fresh green beans, you will need to trim the ends and cut them into bite-sized pieces. If you use frozen green beans, you can skip this step and just thaw them before using. You will need about 1 1/2 pounds of green beans for a standard 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.
Blanch or sauté the green beans
The next step is to cook the green beans until they are crisp-tender. You can do this by blanching or sautéing them. Blanching involves boiling the green beans in salted water for a few minutes, then plunging them into ice water to stop the cooking process. This preserves the color and texture of the green beans, but it also dilutes their flavor. Sautéing involves cooking the green beans in a skillet with some oil or butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. This adds more flavor and browning to the green beans, but it also makes them softer and less crunchy. You can choose whichever method you prefer, or you can try a combination of both.
Make your own cream of mushroom soup
The most common ingredient in green bean casserole is canned cream of mushroom soup. This is a convenient and cheap option, but it also contains a lot of sodium, preservatives, and artificial flavors. If you want to make your casserole more homemade and healthier, you can make your own cream of mushroom soup from scratch. All you need is some butter, flour, chicken broth, milk, salt, pepper, and fresh or dried mushrooms. You can use any kind of mushrooms you like, such as button, cremini, shiitake, or porcini. You can also add some herbs, such as thyme, sage, or rosemary, for extra flavor. To make the soup, you will need to melt the butter in a saucepan, whisk in the flour, and cook for a few minutes to make a roux. Then, you will need to gradually whisk in the chicken broth and milk, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the soup is thickened, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the mushrooms and herbs. You will need about 2 1/2 cups of soup for the casserole.
Use homemade or store-bought fried onions
The final and most important ingredient in green bean casserole is the fried onions. These are the crunchy and savory topping that makes the dish so irresistible. You can use store-bought fried onions, such as French’s, which are easy and convenient. However, they can also be greasy and salty, and they tend to lose their crispiness when baked. If you want to make your own fried onions, you will need some thinly sliced yellow or white onions, flour, salt, pepper, and oil for frying. You can also add some spices, such as paprika, garlic powder, or onion powder, for extra flavor. To make the fried onions, you will need to toss the onion slices with the flour, salt, pepper, and spices in a large ziplock bag. Shake off the excess flour, and fry the onions in batches in hot oil until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels, and let them cool completely. You will need about 3 cups of fried onions for the casserole.
Assemble and bake the casserole
The last step is to assemble and bake the casserole. You will need to preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss the green beans with the cream of mushroom soup until well coated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, and spread it evenly. Sprinkle half of the fried onions over the top, and bake for 25 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the remaining fried onions over the top. Return to the oven, and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the onions are golden and crisp. Let the casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy your delicious green bean casserole
You have just made the perfect green bean casserole for Thanksgiving. It is creamy, crunchy, and full of flavor. Enjoy it with your turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other sides. You can also make it ahead of time, and reheat it in the oven before serving. Just make sure to add the fried onions at the last minute, so they don’t get soggy. You can also freeze the casserole for up to 3 months, and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before baking. Green bean casserole is a versatile and comforting dish that everyone will love.