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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stovetop Green Bean Casserole

Stovetop Green Bean Casserole
When I sit down to plan our Thanksgiving menu, I start out by making a list of dishes down the left side of my paper. Most are very distinct, so I only leave room for the name of one dish to be written beside it. Others are more a category than a dish, so I leave room for two or three options. Without fail, this is how my menu planning begins:

  • Turkey
  • Gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Potato
  • Sweet Potato
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Side Dishes
  • Bread/Rolls
  • Desserts
  • Drinks

Basically, turkey through cranberry sauce each have one dish penciled in next to them, but side dishes to drinks have two or three offerings. I do this whether we're heading out to a large family gathering where everybody brings something or we're staying home and it's just the five of us.
Stovetop Green Bean Casserole
Without fail, one dish that gets added in the "side dish" category is the iconic green bean casserole. I have mad love for the stuff. As a matter of fact, I don't know many people who don't. If we stay home I make it from scratch, but if it's a gathering elsewhere, I usually let somebody else make it (because it's a fairly easy dish, and most of my extended family wants easy when it comes to their food offerings).

Since we're a family of carnivores, I've never encountered a "what to serve to vegetarians" dilemma before. Not that it would actually be a's just never come up. But it could, and I don't want to be "that host" who doesn't have substantial options available. So, when Susan from The Wimpy Vegetarian challenged the Progressive Eats group to come up with menu options fit for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving, I was pretty excited.
Stovetop Green Bean Casserole
I wanted to stick with one of our staples, something that still screams Thanksgiving, comfort foods, and the nostalgia that we all know and love. So, green bean casserole it was. It wasn't hard to do; it's basically vegetarian anyway. While chicken stock can definitely be used in the recipe, by simply using a good vegetable stock or broth, you've got something that can be enjoyed by meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Win-win. Of course the dairy-free and gluten-free people are out of luck, but that's a menu for another day....

Another nice thing about this version of green bean casserole is that it is made entirely on the stovetop, freeing up precious oven space for turkey (or tofurkey) and other side dishes! To see the entire Progressive Eats Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu, scroll down below the recipe.

Stovetop Green Bean Casserole
Free up that coveted oven space this Thanksgiving by making your Green Bean Casserole right on the stovetop!
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Stovetop Green Bean Casserole
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: side vegetarian nut-free green beans shallots mushrooms Thanksgiving American
Ingredients (serves 10-12)
    for the crispy shallots:
    • 3 large shallots
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • cayenne pepper
    • kosher or sea salt
    • ground white pepper
    • vegetable oil, for frying
    everything else:
    • ~2 pounds fresh green beans, ends snapped and halved (or left whole)
    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 16 ounces white mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
    • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • pinch of cayenne pepper
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup vegetable broth or stock
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
    making the crispy shallots:
    Peel the shallots and slice off the root end and very tip. Slice crosswise into rings that are about 1/8-inch thick.

    Combine the flour and a few big pinches of each the cayenne, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the shallot rings to the bowl, separating the layers of rings as you drop them in. Use your fingers to lift and toss the shallots in the seasoned flour until they are well-coated.

    Set a medium-mesh wire strainer over a bowl and dump the shallots into the strainer. Shake the strainer, tossing the shallots a bit, until all of the excess flour has gone through into the bowl. You can discard this extra flour, but I like to toss them in it one more time first.
    coating the shallot rings in seasoned flour
    Line a large plate or tray with a couple of layers of paper towels. Add enough oil to a medium skillet to come up the sides by at least 1 inch. Heat until the oil is about 350° F. If you don't have a thermometer, look for little ripples and shimmers in the oil; drop a single shallot ring into the oil and see if it starts bubbling (if so, it's ready).

    Working in 2 or 3 batches (so that you don't crowd the pan), grab a small handful of the floured shallots and scatter them into the oil. Use small tongs, a large fork, or a slotted spoon to move the shallots around as they fry, making sure that they brown evenly. When they are golden brown, lift them out of the oil and onto the prepared plate. Sprinkle with salt and repeat until all of your shallots are fried. Reserve.

    blanching the green beans:
    Fill a large pot with about 6 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add a couple tablespoons of salt and let it dissolve before adding the green beans to the pot. Allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until the beans are bright green but NOT tender.

    While the beans are in the water, fill an extra-large bowl halfway with ice, then add some cold water.

    Use a slotted skimmer or tongs to lift the green beans out of the boiling water and set them in the bowl of ice water to "shock" them. Once they are all in the bowl, fill the bowl as full as you can with more cold water. Move and turn the beans so that they all chill quickly. Once they are cold, pour them into a colander set over the sink. If there is any ice left, just pick it out and throw it into the sink. Set aside for now.

    make the mushroom sauce base:
    Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet set over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper, mustard and cayenne. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have released most of their liquid, ~8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the top and stir until no dry spots remain (it will be a bit glumpy - that's okay).

    Add the vegetable broth and the soy sauce. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the heavy cream and sour cream, reduce heat until you are at a very gentle simmer. Cook at this heat until the mixture has thickened, 10-12 minutes. Carefully (because it's hot) taste the sauce; adjust with salt and pepper, to taste.

    putting it all together:
    Add the reserved green beans and 1/4 of the reserved crispy shallots to the skillet, using a spoon or tongs to coat completely in the sauce (the pan will be very full, so turn carefully). Adjust heat to a gentle simmer and allow to cook until the green beans are tender, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat; scatter the remaining crispy shallots over the top before serving.

    If you don't want to make the crispy shallots, you can substitute about 1 heaping cup of pre-made French Fried Onions. Also, if this doesn't need to be vegetarian, feel free to use chicken broth/stock in place of the vegetable.

    Want to get a head start? Fry the shallots in advance. Once cool, keep them loosely wrapped at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Blanch and shock the green beans, then pat them dry and store in a large baggie or covered container in the fridge for up to 2 days. About a half an hour before you want to serve, start the recipe at the step where you add the butter and mushrooms to the pan and proceed as written.
    -inspired by and adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli
    Stovetop Green Bean Casserole
    Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month's theme is all about A Vegetarian Thanksgiving and is hosted by Susan Pridmore who blogs at The Wimpy Vegetarian. This may be heresy to many who yearn for the traditional dinner, but this menu will either motivate you to nix the turkey this year, or at least provide inspiration for a new fabulous appetizer and side dishes. And we didn’t forget dessert for some sweet endings to your meal.

    If you're unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

    A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

    Main Dish Options

    Side Dishes

    Sweet Endings

    We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
    Stovetop Green Bean Casserole