Local Food

Published on November 20th, 2014 | by TLV News


Green Bean Casserole (Look, Ma, No Cans!)

I think it’s a good time of year to share this recipe, green bean casserole being a Thanksgiving favorite in some houses. I clipped a version of this from a magazine in my teens, and in my recipe box it hid for years. I finally pulled it out and started toying with the ingredients a few years ago, when I had moved to Oxford and found I had more immediate access to fresh green beans year round. It’s a great dish to pull out for any occasion, but my favorite time is in the spring when green beans are plentiful, and often 99¢ per pound.

GreenBean-1At some point in my childhood, my mother added the “classic” green bean casserole to the holiday food array so there would be “something green on the table,” almost as an afterthought. The version included here is a lot more flavorful than the classic, which calls for condensed cream of mushroom soup and (overcooked) canned green beans. And the caramelized onions here are surely bursting with more flavor than the fried onions. But if you’re dead set on having “The Crunch” atop your casserole, you could toss some panko bread crumbs with butter and finish it that way, but I’d uncover the dish halfway through the cooking time.

Honestly, the rest of the food my mom makes at Thanksgiving is so delicious, the green bean sideshow doesn’t make a difference. And I did grow up with that classic casserole so it holds a special place in my heart. But if you’re looking to make a more delicious statement with your “something green on the table,” maybe move the dish a little closer to center stage, try this recipe. If you have a lot to do on the morning of Turkey Day, this dish can be made a day ahead of time and popped into the oven when you’re ready for it.



2-1/2 lbs. green beans (trimmed & each cut diagonally into thirds)

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

2 T. butter (halved)

2 med. onions (cut into 1/8” slices)

2 med. celery stalks (finely chopped)

12 oz. baby bella mushrooms (evenly chopped)

2 garlic cloves (minced)

16 oz. chicken broth

1 cup half & half (milk works, too)

2 T. cornstarch

3/4 t. salt (for sauce) plus 1 T. salt (for cooking beans)

1/4 t. dried thyme

1/2 t. ground black pepper



Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat 1 T. butter and the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and toss to coat evenly with the fat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, as long as it takes to caramelize the onions—it usually takes mine about 45 minutes. It’s tempting to rush the job and turn the heat up, or to take the onions off after they’re only “blonde,” but caramelized onions are worth the wait—they’ll be almost the color of molasses when they’re finished.

Meanwhile in large saucepot, heat 3 qt. water to boiling. Add green beans and cook for about 10 minutes, til tender—don’t forget to add salt! Drain beans, return to saucepot, and set aside.

Once onions are beautifully browned, transfer to small bowl and set aside. In same skillet, melt remaining 1 T. of butter over medium heat. Add celery and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes or until tender and golden. Add the garlic after the mushrooms have cooked for 10 minutes.

In medium bowl, whisk broth, half & half, cornstarch, salt, thyme, and pepper until blended. Stir cornstarch mixture into vegetables in skillet and heat to boiling. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add mushroom sauce and half of caramelized onions to waiting beans and toss until evenly mixed. Transfer mixture to shallow 2-1/2 qt. glass or ceramic baking dish; scatter remaining onions on top.

Cover casserole with foil and bake, covered, 30–40 minutes, until bubbling throughout. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving—sauce will thicken during this time.  The Local Voice Ligature

This article was originally printed in The Local Voice #217 (published November 20, 2014).
To download the PDF of this issue, click here.

About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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