From America's Test Kitchen Season 3: Ham Dinner
The classic combination of green beans, condensed soup, and canned onions isn’t bad. But for a holiday centered on homemade food, shouldn’t every dish be great? We wanted to upgrade green bean casserole to give it fresh, homemade flavor.
Our first tasting determined that we definitely needed to use fresh green beans rather than frozen or canned beans. A preliminary blanching and shocking prepared the beans to finish cooking perfectly in the casserole, enabling them to keep a consistent texture and retain their beautiful green color. For our sauce, we made a mushroom variation of the classic French velouté sauce (chicken broth thickened with a roux made from butter and flour, then finished with heavy cream). Our biggest challenge was the onion topping. Ultimately we found that the canned onions couldn’t be entirely replaced without sacrificing the level of convenience we thought appropriate to the dish, but we masked their “commercial” flavor with freshly made buttered bread crumbs.
Serves 8 to 10
All the components of this dish can be cooked ahead of time. The assembled casserole needs only 15 minutes in a 375-degree oven to warm through and brown.