Saturday, November 5, 2011

UNprocessed Recipe - Green Bean Casserole

I've had some bees in my bonnet recently to work on creating recipes that can either stand up to or one up their traditional but overly processed counterparts. This one is one of my favorite holiday meal sides, that creamy green bean casserole with the crunchy onions on top. Yum! The Hero absolutely loves this casserole, and he was my inspiration to start with this one in the unprocessing process. It turned out fantastic, even better than the original, we thought. Here's how I did it:  

Green Bean Casserole

  • 1.5 lb. fresh green beans, cut in 2 in. lengths

Mushroom Soup
  • 2 cups diced or chopped fresh mushrooms (crimini, shitake, or portobello)
  • 1 pint whole milk or coconut milk + 1/2 cup reserved
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 3 T. Butter or butter substitute
  • 1 rounded T. flour

Crispy Shallots
  • 2 or 3 medium-large shallots, sliced thin and separated
  • 3 T. flour
  • 2 tsp. house seasoning blend, or salt and pepper
  • 3 T. water
Steam green beans to desired tenderness, pour in 8x8 square glass baking dish. Simmer chopped mushrooms in the milk or coconut milk with salt, pepper, thyme, and sage until mushrooms are well done. While mushrooms are simmering, prepare crispy shallots by tossing thinly sliced and separated shallots in seasoned flour. I use a tupperware with a lid to shake them. I used Old Bay to season mine, but any seasoning blend or simple salt and pepper will do. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

Once the shallots are well coated in the dry flour, sprinkle in the  water to make a batter, toss again and let sit while your oil heats. In a small cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat some oil and test a piece of shallot in the oil to see if it's hot enough. fry up the shallots leaving enough room in between that they don't become one whole fritter! It took me 4 or 5 batches in my small skillet. Turn them over once in the middle of the fry so both sides cook evenly. Remove to a paper towel or newsprint covered rack while you finish the soup. In a larger skillet or pot, create a roux with the butter or butter substitute and enough flour that you have a peanut-butter consistency roux. Stir with a spatula to keep it all moving, once it is a light tan color, slowly add in the simmered mushroom and milk or coconut milk mixture, stirring vigorously to smooth. Add extra milk to reach an easily pourable cream soup consistency. Pour the soup evenly over the green beans in the pan and top with fried shallots. Bake for 15 minutes or until hot, preferably bubbly. Let cool for just a few minutes before serving!

We had this with a whole chicken in the crock pot. It was a tasty combo! I can't wait to dig into the leftovers for lunch this week sometime. I'm excited to get into some other traditionally processed recipes and bring them back to real food roots! If you have a dish you love that's usually heavy in the processed foods and you'd like to see my take on it, drop me a line!