The traditional version of this casserole, made with cans of cream of mushroom soup and French-fried onions, is a celebration of American convenience foods and a standard offering on countless holiday menus. This updated recipe, made with fresh ingredients, is guaranteed to push that old formula aside.
1-1/4 lb. green beans*
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
10 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
3 large shallots, plus 3 tbsp minced**
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus 3 tbsp
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 tsp soy sauce, preferably mushroom soy sauce
Canola oil for deep-frying
* Substitute 1 head broccoli (about 1-1/2 lb.) cut into ﬂorets, for the green beans.
** If you don't feel like frying the shallots, sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds over the casserole before serving.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a deep 2-1/2 quart baking dish.
Step 2: Trim the green beans and halve crosswise.
Step 3: Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes.
Step 4: Drain and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
Step 5: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they give off their juices and are browned, 6-7 minutes.
Step 6: Stir in the 3 tbsp minced shallots and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with the 3 tbsp ﬂour and stir well. Slowly stir in the half-and-half, stock and soy sauce and then bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring, until thickened, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the green beans, season with salt and pepper, and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. (The casserole can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.)
Step 7: Bake until the liquid is bubbling, about 20 minutes (30 minutes if it has been refrigerated).
Step 8: While the casserole is baking, pour oil to a depth of 2" into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place near the stove.
Step 9: Cut the remaining 3 shallots crosswise into slices 1/8" thick and separate into rings.
Step 10: Place the remaining 1/3 cup ﬂour in a small bowl. Toss the shallot rings in the ﬂour to coat evenly, shaking off the excess. In batches to avoid crowding, add the shallots to the hot oil and deep-fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.
Step 11: Remove the casserole from the oven, scatter the fried shallots on top, and serve.
See more recipes from Rick Rodgers.
Reprinted with permission from Rick Rodgers' Comfort Food (2012 Weldon Owen).