A hearty winter casserole from Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli.
1 pound string beans, ends trimmed,
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb. white mushrooms, stemmed and sliced into 1⁄2" slices (about 4 cups)
1 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
4 cups canola oil
2 medium red onions, cut into thin rounds
Step 1. Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and add some cold water. Set a colander squarely inside the ice bath. The colander will keep you from having to pick the ice out of the beans.
Step 2. Prepare the green beans: When the water boils, add 2 tbsp salt and the green beans. Cook until the beans yield slightly when pierced with the tip of a knife, 4 minutes. Using a strainer, remove the green beans from the hot water and transfer them to the colander inside the ice bath. Swirl the beans around in the bath so they cool quickly. Drain and set aside.
Step 3. Make the mushroom base: In a 10" cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the mushrooms. Season with salt, 1 tsp of the cayenne, and the mustard. Stir to blend and cook until the mushrooms give off most of their liquid, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a whisk, add the garlic and 2 tbsp of the flour. When all of the flour has been incorporated, add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the cream and sour cream and simmer gently. Continue cooking over low heat until the mixture thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. You should have about 2 cups.
Step 4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Step 5. Fry the onions: Meanwhile, pour the oil into a medium frying pan. Heat to 350oF. Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel and have ready a slotted spoon.
Step 6. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1⁄4 cup flour and remaining 1⁄2 tsp cayenne. Toss the onion rounds in the flour and shake off excess by shaking the rounds in a strainer. Test the oil by dropping in one onion slice. It should begin to bubble and fry gradually. Drop a small batch of the onions into
the oil and gently swirl them as they fry. When they are light to medium brown, 1 to 2 minutes, remove with the slotted spoon and lay them out on the kitchen towel to cool. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all of the onions have been fried.
Step 7. Assemble the casserole: Stir the green beans into the mushrooms. Simmer on the stove, over low heat, until the green beans become tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in half of the onions. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 10 minutes to give the casserole that baked effect. Top the outside of the dish with the remaining onions and serve.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Reprinted with permission from Old School Comfort Food (2013, Clarkson Potter Publishers.)
See more recipes Old School Comfort Food.