Thursday, December 07, 2006

Quick Green Bean Casserole (Christmas 2006)

from Cook's Illustrated November/December 2003

Heidi made this Christmas 2004 and it was great; this is the best recipe to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Christmas 2006: This is a great recipe but demands a lot of attention to get it right. First off I would skip the sauted shallots. They are almost over the top and just add a layer of complication. Second, be careful not to overcook/overheat the cream-chicken both sauce; it should be whitish rather than brown. The sauce needs gentle simmering not hard boiling. Third, it works fine with just ordinary white button mushrooms.

3 large shallots , sliced thin (about 1 cup)
table salt
ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems discarded, caps wiped clean and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion , minced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves of medium-large garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 pounds green beans , stem ends trimmed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Toss shallots with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 2 tablespoons flour in small bowl; set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonsick skillet over medium-high heat until smoking; add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer shallots with oil to baking sheet lined with triple layer of paper towels.

Wipe out skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, mushrooms, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate and set aside.

Wipe out skillet. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat; when foaming subsides, add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon flour; toss in green beans, thyme, and bay. Add cream and chicken broth, increase heat to medium-high, cover, and cook until beans are partly tender but still crisp at center, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook, uncovered, until green beans are tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes. Off heat, discard bay and thyme; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle evenly with shallots, and serve.

Serves 8

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