Green bean casserole is a great way to bring green vegetables to the sea of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and macaroni gratins that lovingly litter our holiday table. It's also GREAT with turkey and so good leftover in a "stuffing" sandwich! This is a twist on the classic. It's all stovetop so the oven can cook the turkey in peace. It's also enriched by a few of my favorite chef tricks: bacon, Brussels sprout leaves, lemon and a good dollop of mustard!
For the green beans
- 1 pound string beans
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups bacon "lardons"
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 12 ounces (about 3 cups) white mushrooms, cut into half-inch slices
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup sour cream
- The juice from 1/2 lemon
For the fried onions
- 2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into thin rounds
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 4 cups canola oil
- 1 cup Brussels sprout leaves
Cook green beans: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. When the water boils, add 2 tablespoons salt to the water and add the green beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until beans are slightly tender. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and cold water. Place a colander squarely inside the ice bath. When the beans are cooked, remove from hot water with a strainer. Transfer to the colander. "Swirl" the beans around in the ice water so they cool quickly. Drain.
Make the mushroom cream sauce: In a large cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain and set aside the bacon. Add the mushrooms and cayenne to the bacon fat in the skillet. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms give off most of their liquid, 5-8 minutes. Using a whisk, add the garlic, flour, Worcestershire and mustard to the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Stir in the cream and sour cream and simmer gently. Continue cooking over medium low heat until the mixture thickens, 8-10 minutes.
Fry the onions and Brussels sprouts leaves: In a medium frying pan, heat the canola oil to 350° F. Toss the onions in the flour and cayenne and shake off excess by shaking the rounds in a strainer once they have been breaded. Prepare a baking sheet fitted with a kitchen towel and a slotted spoon. Drop a small batch of the onions into the oil and gently swirl with a spoon as they fry. When they are light brown, drain and arrange on the tray to cool. Season with salt. Fry the Brussels sprout leaves until brown and crispy, 2-3 minutes. Season. Set aside.
Finish the dish: Combine the green beans, mushrooms and some of the fried red onions with the mushrooms in a cast iron skillet. Simmer on the stove, over low heat, for 5-8 minutes or until the green beans are tender. Squeeze the lemon juice over them. Top with the remaining onions, Brussels sprout leaves and bacon.