Most Americans are more than familiar with the traditional holiday side dish standby, the green bean casserole.
Believe it or not, the casserole recipe doesn’t have its roots in some old farming family tradition or WWII-era innovation. No, it was invented inside the Campbell’s Soup test kitchen back in what was a real age of kitsch — 1955. Created to promote the company’s cream of mushroom soup, their recipe for “Green Bean Bake” also made use of other newfangled convenience foods like frozen green beans and canned fried onions.
Over the past 60+ years, the green bean casserole has become an iconic dish — one that can be found on millions of tables across the country, and on multiple holidays during the year.
In fact, Campbell’s estimates that each year, more than 30 million households make a green bean casserole. That’s a whole lotta soup. (The original recipe was even donated to the National Inventors Hall of Fame archive, which puts it in the company of other noteworthy inventions, like an Apple computer circuit board from 1976.)
Despite such a storied history, we believe that there is always room for improvement. Our version of the classic green bean casserole recipe takes the old standby to new heights, and does not even require the use of a can opener!
The recipe here features fresh green beans, blanched to maintain a vibrant green perfection, fresh mushrooms, garlic and shallots — all blended with a decadent cream sauce — then topped with breaded onions that have been baked to a crispy golden brown.
ALSO TRY: Cheddar green bean casserole
While the original 1955 recipe was designed for maximum convenience, ours was designed for maximum flavor. It may take a little more time and effort to create, but the delicious difference will not disappoint. Your taste buds will thank you, and your family and friends will definitely be asking for seconds.
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Old-fashioned green bean casserole
Courses Side dish
For the crunchy onion topping
- 2 medium onions, thinly-sliced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
For the casserole
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1-1/2 pounds of green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots, finely-chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 oz. mixed mushrooms (button, shiitake and chantrelles), sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 cup half-and-half
Prepare the crunchy onion topping:
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
- Combine the flour, bread crumbs, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Toss onions into the flour mixture.
- Brush a baking sheet with the cooking oil.
- Spread the onions evenly out over the baking sheet.
- Place the sheet pan of onions in the oven and bake. After about 15 minutes, turn the onions over. Finish baking until done and golden brown approximately 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
Prepare the casserole:
- Lower the heat in the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Add the beans and cook/blanch for about 5-6 minutes.
- Immediately drain, and place the beans in a large water bath (a bowl of ice mixed with cold water). This allows the beans to stop cooking.
- Once cool, drain the water off of the beans and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the shallots, garlic, mushrooms and salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to lose some of their liquid (about 5 minutes).
- Add 2 tablespoons flour to the mushroom mixture and stir well.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and half-and-half and simmer. Allow to simmer until the mixture thickens, about 5-10 minutes.
- Pour beans in a 9" x 12" casserole dish. Top mixture with the baked onions.
- Place in oven and bake for about 12 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Remove from oven and serve.
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