I'd never heard of this dish, but after reading what so many of my American friends on this board eat at Thanksgiving, I've decided to give it a try. This recipe sounds good to me.


WORLD'S BEST GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, November-December 2006
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 8 in small-ish servings for a big dinner

BEANS
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon table salt (the salt is key to the flavor, don't skimp ...)
1 pound fresh green beans, ends snapped, snapped into bite-size pieces

Bring the water to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. While it comes to a boil, prep the beans. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the salt and beans to the boiling water. Cover and cook for 6 minutes or until crisp-tender and still bright green. Drain beans in a colander, then plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain a bit in the colander again. Place a double layer of paper towels on a baking sheet, arrange beans in single layer to dry, top with a double layer of towels. (11/23 note: if doubling/tripling the recipe means cooking the beans in batches, you'll want to start with fresh water with each batch, at minimum, you'll want to re-salt the water with each new batch)

MUSHROOMS & SAUCE
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms (CI uses white button mushrooms, I really liked the color of the brown portabella however ...)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (Cooks Illustrates uses 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon garlic
Salt to taste
Fresh pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon dry sherry (my addition)
3/4 cup half & half (CI uses heavy cream, don't use fat-free half-n-half, it won't thicken)
Salt & pepper to taste

Clean the mushrooms; break off (11/23 note: this turns out to be important to the texture, slicing with a knife makes the mushrooms more like the ones in canned soup) and discard the stems (why? maybe because they can be tough? next time I will trim and keep these ... or better yet, follow the lead of Jennifer of Weekly Dish) and make a night-before-Thanksgiving mushroom soup); break the mushroom tops into pieces. Melt the butter in a skillet (to save a pan, use the pot used for cooking the beans) til shimmery. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper; stirring often, cook til mushrooms begin to soften and exude their liquid, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook a minute. Add the chicken stock, sherry and bring to a simmer. Add the half & half, simmer til sauce thickens, about 10 - 15 minutes. Taste and adjusting seasonings. Stir in beans.

TOPPING (the quantity below is half what CI used but once made, the full amount seemed way over the top to me, plus you can see from the picture, the topping isn't in the least bit skimpy)

1 slice whole grain bread (I used this whole grain bread, the version without beets)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 a 2.8 ounce can of French fried onions
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In the food processor, process the bread, butter and seasonings in about 10 quick pulses. Stir in (don't process the onions). If making ahead, transfer to a storage container and refrigerate.

COOKING RIGHT AWAY Preheat oven to 425F. Transfer bean mixture to a greased quiche pan or baking dish. Top beans with topping and bake for 15 minutes.

COOKING LATER Transfer bean mixture to a greased quiche pan or baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Return to room temperature. (11/23 note: it took about 3 hours for a triple batch to reach room temperature) Remove plastic wrap. Heat in 425F oven for about 10 minutes. (11/23 note: this timing from Cook's Illustrated might work for a one-pound batch in a relatively shallow pan like a quiche pan; I did a triple batch for Thanksgiving dinner today and would allow at least 30 - 40 minutes for a deeper dish, especially one prepped in advance or not quite at room temperature.) Add topping and bake for another 15 minutes.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
Per Serving: 138 Cal (54% from Fat, 12% from Protein, 33% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 9 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 12 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; NetCarb8; 54 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 218 mg Sodium; 16 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

SHORTHAND RECIPE ...
WORLD'S BEST GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE Cook 1lb beans in 1qt water w 1T salt. Cook 8oz baby portabellas in 1T butter w 1T garlic, S& to taste til liquid exudes, add 11⁄2 T flour, 3⁄4 c chicken stock, 1T dry sherry, 3⁄4c H&H, S&P to taste. For topping, use FP for 1sl whole grain bread, 1T butter, stir in 1⁄2 can canned onions, 1/8 t salt, 1/16 t black pepper. Fits quiche pan, bake 425F 15min. (If ahead, bake 10min, add topping, then 15min.) CI2006 VV06

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