Green bean casserole is a staple for most holiday occasions. I see a lot of recipes that call for canned soup, canned green beans, and packaged fried onions. While these are good nostalgic options for most of us, how do you make a green bean casserole from scratch?
Can it really taste as good as what we are all used to?? Yes, in fact, even better. Even if you aren’t ready to try the whole recipe this way, switch out one ingredient for a fresh version and see the difference one ingredient can make.
HOW TO MAKE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE FROM SCRATCH.
This recipe uses fresh green beans, chicken broth, and heavy cream instead of canned cream of mushroom soup. If you are going to cut any corners at least use fresh green beans, onions, garlic, and mushrooms.
Since chicken broth is so versatile and used in so many recipes, I try to keep a stash in my freezer. When I make a batch of chicken soup I always try to reserve some of the broth for later use. I usually take a cup or two of the broth and freeze it. If you don’t have any on hand, use a good store-bought brand. During most holiday seasons, a few days before holiday preparations I make a large pot of chicken soup. This way I can make dinner for the family while taking extra broth to store in the refrigerator or freezer.
If you would like to keep this recipe vegetarian, use a vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. Vegetable stock is actually pretty easy to make. Simply chop up a few onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and add fresh herbs, salt, and pepper, add to a large pot of water. Simmer for about 1-2 hours, strain, and you have a flavorful broth. If you choose to buy store-bought always go with a good brand.
The combination of fresh chicken broth, fresh cut mushrooms, heavy cream, and sour cream replaces the cream of mushroom soup. A mixture of sauteed onions with butter, sprinkled with flour to make a roux base. The combination of a roux, fresh ingredients, and fresh herbs, will make a pretty amazing sauce that you can’t buy in a store.
HOW TO BLANCH GREEN BEANS
Blanching the green beans is an optional step. This process will enhance the flavor, brighten up the color, and will improve the texture of the green beans.
- Wash the green beans.
- Trim off the tips, and cut in half or thirds.
- Place them into a pot of salted boiling water for about 3 minutes.
- Strain them.
- Immediately place them in an ice bath stop the cooking process.
This part of the recipe may feel the most overwhelming. I either use yellow sweet onions or shallots. Shallots are the best, but I can’t always find them and sweet onions work great. I was intimidated to try making my own fried onions at first. Once I tried, I was really surprised at how easy it was and how delicious they came out. If you are lucky you may get one shaped like a heart 🙂
I also tried baking them and they came out good. If you are on any diet restrictions that don’t allow fried foods baking them is a good alternative.
TIPS FOR FRYING ONIONS
For the best results, use yellow sweet onions or shallots. Fried shallots are my favorite! Ever since I started making homemade onion rings with panko, my family insists on them.
Using three separate bowls, divide the flour, eggs, and panko crumbs. One bowl with 2 cups of flour, salt, and pepper. The second with whisked eggs, and the third with panko bread crumbs.
Set the bowls aside and begin preparing onions. Hold the whole onion on the side. Remove the skin then slice them into 1/4 inch slices. Push out the centers to reveal all the rings of onion.
I have found that for best results have all the onions coated and prepared before frying in the oil.
For each onion, first coat in seasoned flour. Second, dip in the egg mixture. Lastly, take out of the egg mixture and coat in the panko crumbs.
Use a light-tasting oil such as vegetable or canola. You want to fill the pot or deep skillet with at least 2 inches of oil. Turn the heat on to medium/high and let the oil heat up.
With a fork or tongs, place the coated onions in the hot oil until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pot. This will take a few batches. I take them out once they are light golden brown since they will continue to brown once topped on the casserole and baked in the oven.
Coat onions in the flour mixture until completely coated.
Once golden, remove them with tongs onto a paper towel-lined plate. This will help drain some of the oil.
The best part of making these yourself is that you can make them ahead and keep them wrapped airtight and they will crisp up just as good as if they were just made when baked in the oven.
TIPS FOR BAKING ONIONS
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
You will need three separate bowls. One with 2 whisked eggs, one with 2 cups all-purpose flour, salt, and pepper. One with 2 cups panko bread crumbs.
Slice 1 whole sweet onion or about 3 whole shallots anyway you like. I like to slice into 1/4 inch rings.
Dip each shallot or onion ring into the flour mixture and coat well, then coat with egg mixture, then finally into the bread crumbs coating well. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t overcook them they will bake again with the casserole.
CAN YOU MAKE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE FROM SCRATCH AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes. The best way to make this recipe ahead of time would be to make the casserole portion and the fried onions and store them separately. Make the casserole on the stove-top and store it in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. It will stay good in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I have only tried making them one day ahead of time.
Make the fried onions and wrap them in paper towels and keep them airtight. You don’t have to refrigerate them. I would recommend keeping them at room temperature to prevent them from getting soggy.
When you are ready to prepare the casserole place the filling in an oven-safe casserole dish and add onions to the top and bake as per recipe instructions. If the casserole was refrigerated it may take a little longer to warm up in the oven.
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE FROM SCRATCH
For the casserole:
- 4-5 cups fresh cut green beans
- 7 mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh-cut thyme or dried thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh-cut parsley or dried parsley.
For the fried onions:
- 1 large yellow onion sliced in 1/4 inch rings
- 2 cups all-purpose flour salt, and pepper, whisked.
- 3 eggs whisked in a bowl.
- 2-3 cups panko bread crumbs
To fry the onions:
- Have a plate lined with paper towels set to the side for the onions when they are taken out of the pot.
- Place flour, eggs, and panko bread crumbs in their own separate medium bowl.
- With a fork, first, dip the sliced onions into the flour mixture. Then dip into the whisked eggs, then dip into the panko bread crumbs. Make sure each layer is coated well, and place all coated onions on a plate.
- In a large pot, pour vegetable or canola oil until oil is at least 2 inches high. Heat burner to medium-high heat and let the oil heat up.
- Once the oil is hot, use tongs to place the onions into the oil. Cook the onions for a few minutes in the oil turning halfway through the cooking process. I turn the onions and remove them from the pan with a large mesh strainer.
- Remove the fried onions from the oil when they are light golden brown. They will brown more when they are topped on the casserole and baked in the oven.
For the casserole:
- Clean the green beans, trim the tips, and cut them in half or into thirds, and blanch them, and set them aside. (blanching optional)
- In a large pot add 1/4 stick of butter and diced onions. Sautee the onions until they are translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 stick of butter (or more if necessary). Once butter is melted, add 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, and stir. Cook this mixture for a few minutes to cook the flour. This is the roux, you want it to get thick and bubbly.
- Add chicken stock, heavy cream, and sour cream and stir well.
- Next, add the salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley, give a quick stir and add the green beans.
- Let the mixture cook for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. If the sauce is too thin, you can add more sour cream. If the sauce is too thick you can add more chicken broth.
- Pour mixture into a casserole dish and top with fried onions.
- Bake in the oven at 375 degrees F. for 30-45 minutes, or until onions are crisp and casserole is bubly.