A Creamy and comforting green bean casserole that’s made completely from scratch! Yes, even the French’s style fried onion strings!
I’m going to tell you a big secret. And you might need to sit down for this one. It’s never really been on the top of hubby’s (or my own, come to think of it) Thanksgiving food list. Are you still breathing? Are we the only ones? Tell me theres someone else out there that thinks this casserole is a little overrated. <– Okay, I take that last little bit back. Because now I totally get it.
But the majority of green bean casserole’s we’ve experienced were placed on the table only minutes before the green beans disintegrated into a big mushy mess. And please! Oh please don’t get me started on the condensed soups. I’m so not a fan. Is it me, or do those things always leave a funny after taste in your mouth?
Needless to say, the hubby and I were both super pleased with this recipe because 1.) al-dente green beans that are actually GREEN when you bring the casserole to the table and 2.) I’m not baking this thing so it takes ½ the time and tastes 100x better 3.) NO CONDENSED SOUPS! ????????
I made it last year (without the homemade fried string onions) and we loved it so much, I had to share it with you this year! And it comes complete with the fried onions.
What makes it extra special is the layers and layers of flavor in this recipe. We season everything fresh as we go so the end results are perfection.
Let’s talk about these homemade french fried onions strings first. OH MY! You have got to try these. They are amazing! Of course, I made a bunch because Anees and I are major snackers. Needless to say, I used a pretty decent sized onion and by the time I topped the green bean casserole, we had picked and picked and eaten at least half of the onion strings!
But boyohboyohboy. Worth it.
These are made with a simple flour mixture – a basic combination of smoked paprika (or cayenne), flour, salt, black pepper, and onion powder. Yes, we’re putting onion powder in fried onion strings. WHY!? Because the onion powder really helps intensify the onion flavor. I even add a pinch of garlic powder every now and then. I’ve left it off today to the keep the recipe list a little simpler.
The onions are soaked in a cup of milk for 1 hour before you dip them into the flour mixture and fry them. No need for buttermilk! Regular milk works just as well. If you’ve got buttermilk on hand, you can definitely use it.
We blanch the beans before adding them into the green bean casserole. Make sure you don’t skip this step! The beans don’t really cook for too long in the casserole + we are not baking this in the oven so you want to make sure the beans are cooked through. Remember to shock them in an ice water bath when you’re done so that they can stop cooking.
Every teeny tiny calorie in this green bean casserole is worth it! It’s easy to make this recipe from scratch, so please, let’s promise each other we’ll never use condensed cream of mushroom soups for this casserole, ever again.
- FRIED ONION STRINGS:
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup milk (buttermilk will work too)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (cayenne works too)
- Oil, for frying
- GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE:
- 1 lb. fresh green beans, rinsed, ends trimmed, and I cut them in half
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- ½ cup half and half
- Place the sliced onions in a medium bowl with the milk. Allow the onions to soak in the milk for 1 hour.
- In another medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, and paprika. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture in a separate bowl to thicken the green bean casserole, set aside.
- Heat a dutch oven or a heavy bottom pot with a couple inches of oil to 375ºF. Working in small batches, placed the onions from the milk mixture into the flour mixture, and toss with hands until coated. Fry them in the oil for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.[b] Keep in mind frying time may vary depending on the thickness of the onion slices[/b]. Remove to a paper towel lined plate, season with a pinch of salt. Repeat until all the onions have been fried.
- Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. While the water is boiling, fill a large bowl with water and lots of ice, set aside. Season the boiling water with salt and add the green beans into the boiling water and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove the beans with a slotted spoon and place them into the ice water, set aside.
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter begins to crackle, add the onions and allow them to sweat for 3-4 minutes, stirring as required. Add the garlic and allow it to cook for 30 seconds before adding in the sliced mushrooms. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let the mushrooms cook for 5 minutes or until they shrink in size.
- Add the flour mixture (reserved from the onion strings) to the mushroom mixture and stir until all the veggies are coated, let cook 1 minute. Sprinkle the thyme and red pepper flakes followed by the chicken stock. Using your wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen any brown bits. Reduce the heat to medium low, and allow the sauce to thicken for 3-5 minutes. When the sauce has thickened a bit, add in the green beans and half and half, stir to combine. Let the sauce to cook for an additional 3 minutes or until it thickens to preferred consistency.
- When you’re ready to serve, top with the fried onions!
- The casserole portion can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Reheat by adding the ingredients to a skillet. You may need additional milk or broth to help bring it back to desired consistency. I DO NOT suggest frying the onions ahead of time. These will taste best when made the day of.