Not all green bean casseroles have to start with reaching for the can opener. Chef Zoe Schor, of Split-Rail in Chicago, is the first to tell you there's a better way. "I think everyone has this experience of certain foods that are really iconic and you remember them a certain way," she says. "But then you go back and eat them, and it's just not quite the same." Her version calls for homemade mushroom sauce, crisp haricots verts, freshly fried shallots and a shower of fresh herbs. Just don't be surprised when all of a sudden your guests forget there's a turkey on the table.
To learn more, read “Culinary Institute: Green Bean Casserole.”
Green Bean Casserole
Recipe adapted from Zoe Schor, Split-Rail, Chicago, IL
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
For the Mushroom Sauce:
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound cremini mushrooms—cleaned, trimmed and quartered
1 pound oyster mushrooms—cleaned, trimmed and halved
2 large shallots, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup white wine
3 cups heavy cream
4 marjoram sprigs
4 tarragon sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Casserole:
Kosher salt, to taste
1½ pounds green beans, trimmed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Freshly chopped dill, tarragon and basil, for garnish
1. Make the mushroom sauce: In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the cremini mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add 2 more tablespoons of vegetable oil and the oyster mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the cremini mushrooms.
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and the shallots to the pan. Cook until softened, 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until reduced, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms back into the pan, along with the cream and the herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by a third, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
4. Make the casserole: Preheat the oven to 400°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Blanch the green beans until crisp-tender, 2 minutes, then using a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice bath to chill. Drain the green beans and add them to the mushroom sauce. Toss to coat and adjust the seasoning with salt.
5. Transfer the green bean mixture to a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bake until golden and bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then add the bread crumbs. Cook, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt.
7. Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a small saucepan to 350° and line a plate with paper towels. In a small bowl, toss the shallot rings with the cornstarch to coat. Shake off any excess cornstarch and fry the shallots until golden, 1 minute. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain and season with salt.
8. When the casserole comes out of the oven, top with the bread crumbs, fried shallots and fresh herbs, then serve.
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