This is another one of those danger recipes and I have to blame it all on my friend Cindy! It started on Thanksgiving when she brought the famous green bean casserole. I had NEVER made one and emphatically stated that I never would. Well when everyone in-haled the damn thing that day and there was nothing (and I mean not even a fried onion) left for seconds. I knew I had to change my hating green bean casserole days. It was declared delicious by my son Luke. Sophie picked around the mushrooms, but gave it a thumbs up. All that got me thinking. What if I made it from scratch? Everything from the fried onions to the mushroom based “soup.” Well I did the other day, and let me tell you something...it was delicious! It was a bit of fiddle to be honest, but well worth it. The fried onions were light, crunchy and tasty. Then I made a cheesy béchamel based sauce with caramelized mushrooms and onions instead of a mushroom soup. All in all, it turned out to be another one of those danger recipes. Once you make it, you’re hooked! So, let me formally apologize to all those green bean casserole lovers out there...I have joined the ranks!
Note: I’ve written the recipe as separate parts since it is a labor of love, but well worth it. This serves 6-8 easily.
Deep Fried Onions
2 cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Canola oil for deep frying
Heat oil in a large heavy sauce pan to 350°F. Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix one cup of flour mixture with ½ cup of water and stir until smooth. In batches, coat the onion slices first in the batter, then dredge in dry flour mixture. Deep fry until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Caramelized Mushroom and Onion Béchamel Sauce with Green Beans
1 ½ lbs frozen French cut green beans
24oz white mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ cup or splash of white wine
4 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons oil (for caramelizing the mushrooms and onions)
2 tablespoons oil
2-cups béchamel sauce
4 oz butter
4 oz flour
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8oz Jack cheese, shredded
4oz Parmesan cheese, grated
Thaw green beans in a colander.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. When the butter is melted, add the mushrooms. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms caramelize and are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Heat another 2 tablespoons of butter and oil in same skillet. Add onions and cook until onions caramelize, about 20 minutes, return mushrooms to pan. Splash with about ¼ cup of white wine, and simmer until syrupy. Set aside.
Make the béchamel sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour and whisk until a paste forms. Cook roux for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk milk into roux, sprinkle in nutmeg. Continue whisking until sauce is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, cheeses stir until melted and smooth. Then add the mushroom mixture and green beans. Stir to combine and set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Assemble casserole. Spray a large oven-proof (obviously) casserole dish with cooking spray. Add the green bean béchamel sauce, top with fried onions. Cover with foil and heat for 20 minutes until bubbling, remove foil continue heating another 5-10 minutes until onions crisp up (you might want to turn the oven to 375°F, but if you do watch it like a hawk, you don’t want burned onions!). Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.