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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Green Bean Casserole

Well, if you read my last post, you know my sister-in-law, Barb, was here visiting.  Her first evening here, we took her to Chef Joseph's.  She finally got to meet our dear friend who is such an incredible chef.  She loved her chicken parmesan.  And, Connie and I loved our lamb confit tacos!!! 

The next evening we headed to Mom's and from there went out to Zionsville for dinner at the Friendly.  That evening there was a drag race on Main Street to raise money for Alzheimers.  I wish I'd gotten photos of the guys in drag coming in the bar to collect donations.  They were wonderful! 

Saturday, it was State Fair time!  David and Kara and Bradley and Rosie came over from Columbus to see Auntie Barbs.  The kids got to feed the sheep, eat enough sugar to last a month (or more) and just generally have a great time.  One of the highlights for me was getting to see the sculpture that won my friend, Kathy Cunningham, first place in the professional division.  Then, I turned around and said, "Oh, look at that cool piece!"  Turned out it was another by Kathy...  

The fair was followed by a run through the sprinkler at home.  Picking flowers for Momma.  Playing with Annie.  PIcking tomatoes.  Climbing the tree.  Then, it was time for dinner - and helping Grammie.  Barbecued chicken on the Big Green Egg, corn on the cob, homemade green bean casserole and two pies - one chocolate, bourbon pecan and the other mince walnut. 

Our friends Barb and Tom had been in the office and brought us three bags of goodies.  Corn on the cob, green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, green beans...  Connie took one look at the green beans and asked if I'd make green bean casserole.  He meant the stuff with the cream of mushroom soup topped by the store-bought fried onions.  I had other ideas.  Shocking, I know.  I set out to create REAL green bean casserole.  Now, I did not write down official measurements as I went...  so, these are estimates!

Green Bean Casserole


for the casserole:

2 lbs green beans, trimmed and halved
1 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 T butter
4 T butter
4 T flour
1 1/2-2 c milk (I use 2%)
1/4 - 1/2 c dry sherry
salt and pepper

for the onion rings:

one small red onion, peeled and halved
Cajun seasoning (we make our own Emeril's)
vegetable oil


You're going to feel like a three ring circus while making this...  In a large, heavy pot, pour about an inch of vegetable oil.  That's for frying the onions...  It needs to heat slowly and you need to stay with it.

In a medium skillet, melt the two tablespoons of butter and sauté the mushrooms and shallots.  As they cook, they will give off moisture.  You want to sauté them until the pan is almost dry.  Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside. 

Start the roux for the sauce by melting the butter in a medium saucepan.  While it's melting, cook the green beans in a small amount of salted water.  Because I want the beans relatively soft, I cover the saucepan and leave the beans to steam a bit.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour and stir for a few minutes.  You want the flour to cook but you don't want it to color much if at all.  Next, add the milk slowly, stirring constantly.  Once you've added the milk, add the sherry.  Now, you can stir the sauce occasionally while you fry the onions.    

Slice the onion VERY thinly.  Pour about an inch of milk into one shallow bowl.  Put flour and Cajun seasoning in another.  One the oil is hot enough to sizzle when you put an onion ring in it, you're ready to go.  Put a handful of the rings in the milk, then into the flour.  Toss them with the flour until they're well coated.  Put them in the hot oil and cook for about 5 minutes a side.  They need to be nicely browned.  Drain them on paper towels or a paper bag.  

Now, it's time to put the casserole together.  Drain the beans.  Mix them with the mushrooms, shallots and sauce and pour them into a baking dish.  Top with the fried onions and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.  

Yes, it's considerably more trouble than canned soup and canned fried onions.  It's also about 1000% better :-)      

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