How many dinner parties have you been to where they served the green bean casserole? It’s an important side dish for the holidays, no doubt. But honestly, sometimes the dish lacks luster, and I was beginning to wonder why.
Then I figured out that a lot of recipes call for canned beans and canned cream of mushroom soup, and they omitted fresh ingredients. The green bean casserole turns out good, but you just know it can be better.
So I decided to use fresh green beans, and fresh mushrooms in my green bean casserole recipe. And the result was oh so amazing. There was a special bite to the green beans, and a delicious texture and flavor from the freshly sautéed mushrooms. There was however one canned item I still used, and that was cream of mushroom soup, because it is a good thickener and with the other fresh ingredients, I didn’t feel the need to make the mushroom soup from scratch.
Though you could make a cream of mushroom soup from scratch, and you can get the recipe here. It’s quite simple really, but because I was making this dish on Christmas Day, I had a lot of other things I needed to get done. Making a cream of mushroom soup from scratch requires about 30 minutes to 1 hour of your time, and the results are of course, incredible.
There are quite a bit of ingredients that go into cream of mushroom soup; heavy cream, butter, chicken or vegetable broth, and of course fresh mushrooms. Usually you’ll need some kind of red wine, my favorite is Marsala wine.
But alas, no fresh cream of mushroom soup was made but the green bean casserole was a hit and the first dish *gone*. And I was pretty proud of my green bean casserole, since it was my first time actually cooking one.
What You Need:
2 cups fresh green beans
2 cups fresh mushrooms (sliced)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick)
1 cup freshly grated Colby jack cheese
1 small package fried onions (approx 2 cups)
Salt & black pepper to taste
2 cans chicken broth (optional)
First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Since we are cooking with fresh beans rather than canned beans, we will need to cook them before assembling our casserole. You can cook them one of two ways: boil in water or boil in chicken broth. I actually cooked the green beans in boiling water because for me, it doesn’t improve the taste enough to make it worth the extra sodium.
However, I’ve heard people say it adds so much additional flavor into the beans, so try cooking the beans both ways and see which way works best for you. Either method you choose, you must boil the green beans for approximately 10 minutes.
While the green beans are cooking, melt 1 stick of butter in a pan. Add sliced mushrooms and garlic and sauté. The mushrooms and green beans will be done at the same time, and when that time comes add the green beans to your mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Add cream of mushroom soup and stir.
Fold in half of your fried onions to the mixture. Pour green bean mixture into a casserole dish and top with freshly grated Colby jack cheese and sprinkle the remaining fried onions over the cheese. Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes, sprinkle a bit more shredded Colby jack on top and cook for another 5 minutes. Be careful not to over brown the top. It will be crispy regardless!
So I never knew my husband loved green bean casseroles, and even he didn’t know he loved green bean casseroles until I made this dish. The fresh ingredients really made a significant difference in the taste and even texture of the dish and as I mentioned earlier, my green bean casserole was gone before I could blink. I guess you could say it was a success!
What I served with the green bean casserole was the main course, which was a roasted lemon thyme whole chicken. It was super moist on the inside and crispy on the outside thanks to the brine I let it swim in overnight.
To brighten and freshen up our palettes, I made a couple super simple salads. Heirloom tomatoes, cilantro, feta cheese, thyme, olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt were the scrumptious contents of the first salad. The second salad was a bit more complex with fresh green beans, cucumbers, miso dressing, garlic, and ginger.
Even if you and your family or guests are not fans of green beans, I can guarantee that you will love this green bean casserole. You won’t believe the difference fresh vegetables can do for this dish, and I hope you try my green bean casserole recipe out soon!