Who knows how Green Bean Casserole evolved into something that is almost always made with a can of cream of mushroom soup… Not that we shy away from ‘cream of whatever’ soups here at 12 Tomatoes. We do not. But there’s a time and place for the can and there’s a time and place for from-scratch, homemade cooking, and what better time is that than the holidays? We’ve all had plenty of Green Bean Casserole over the years, but our from-scratch version delivers a more vibrant, creamy, and delicious version. The kind of comfort you just can’t get out of a can.
Full disclosure, when I say “from scratch,” it is maybe not entirely accurate because this still includes some packaged fried onions. Could you make your own fried onions? Of course! But I happen to love French’s completely crunchy, crispy nature and so that one pre-made shortcut remains in this dish. But, oh boy, are they good.
Making Green Bean Casserole from scratch isn’t really all that complicated. If you’ve made a roux-based sauce before, you’ve already got the skills to make this. You start by browning some onions and mushrooms until they’re a nice, rich brown. (In butter, of course. This is a special occasion dish, after all.)
You remove those from the skillet, add a little more butter, whisk in some flour, and then stir in some half-and-half. That thickens up nicely…
… and gets poured over the mushroom/onion mixture and some vibrant (fresh!) blanched green beans.
They all head into a casserole dish…
… and get topped with some crispy fried onions.
As it bakes, that beautiful sauce simmers up around the green beans and makes them perfectly tender (never mushy) and the onions get delightfully crunchy and golden brown.
The sauce is more nuanced than any canned version could be. It’s scented with sauteed garlic and onion, but also has the earthy bite of fresh mushrooms. It’s creamy and delicate and never even approaches gloppy. The end result is a casserole that feels a bit more refined than the green bean bakes you’ve had before, but it’s still homey and rustic and – dare I say – even more delicious than the one your mama might have made.
Green Bean Casserole
- 2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, divided
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 8 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (6 oz) container French's Fried Onions, divided
- Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter or nonstick spray.
- Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and boil until tender but still crisp, about 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. Place cooked beans in ice bath to halt cooking process. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat half of the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until caramelized, 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4 minutes more. Add garlic and cook one more minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add remaining butter to skillet. Stir in flour, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Cook until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.
- Add green beans and cream sauce to mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish and top with fried onions. Bake until sauce is bubbly and top is golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Yellow Bliss Road.