I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just over a week away! We were originally expecting to still be in China for the holiday, so it’s been a pleasant surprise getting to plan a full on American feast. There are some foods that were just hard to find in Suzhou, like turkeys. One grocery store did have 1 frozen turkey. But they literally had that same turkey the entire time we lived there, so I had my doubts about the quality. Here I have my choice of ingredients, a nice big kitchen to prepare it in, and a group of friends to share it with.
My menu is shaping up to look pretty similar to last years, with just a few adjustments and additions. One thing that was requested this year was green bean casserole. Of course I could just go with the traditional casserole made with cans, but that wouldn’t be quite as fun! So I searched for a from scratch recipe that would be the best balance between the traditional taste and better for you non-processed ingredients. I think I found a real winner! One that gives the canned casserole a run for its money!
One last thing – For the trial run I bought a bag of crispy fried onions for the topping but on the actual day of I plan to make them myself.
1 1/2 pounds green beans*, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup french fried onions
2 tablespoons butter, melted optional
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs optional
*For the trial run I thought the green bean to sauce ratio was little high so I’ve adjusted the amount of green beans to reflect what I will do on Thanksgiving.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill a large skillet or wok with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook just until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Wipe any excess water from the large skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 10-15 minutes, until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and thyme sprigs, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.Add the tablespoon of olive oil and then sprinkle in the flour and stir, cook for a minute or 2. Pour in the white wine, stirring and scraping up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. After one minute, reduce heat to medium-low and add the broth and cream. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the liquid starts to reduce and thicken. Stir in the gruyere cheese until melted. Taste the sauce and season with any additional salt and pepper if needed.
Stir the green beans in to the sauce then pour into a casserole dish. In a separate bowl toss stir together the melted butter, panko bread crumbs and fried onions*, sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and turning golden brown.
*You can also skip the melted butter and panko and just top with fried onions.
Adapted from Closet Cooking