With the holiday soon to be here, I have been thinking about what to make for the various parties and dinners. I thought I would take a look a holiday traditional dishes and see if I can adapt them, well to use less processed food items in them.
I remember as a kid the Green Bean Casserole was one of my favorites during Thanksgiving, well actually it was just the "Frenchs Fried Onions" on top. Last year a good friend of mine had a 1960's themed dinner and this was one of the dishes i was planning to make but when i looked up the original recipe it sort turned me off once i saw what was in it (everything was from a can and the salt levels were a months supply in one dish - ugh.) Now my version is not a one, two, three dish and your done, there is a bit for prep, but its worth it.
1 lb of french green beens, cleaned and prepped
2 cups of Half & Half
1 cup of dried Morel mushrooms, chopped
1 cup of dried Shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup unbleached flour
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves or garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh Italian Parsley
1/4 teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
2 large onions, thinly sliced into rings
1 cup of butter milk
1 cup of unbleached flour plus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of ground yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Place onion rings in an ice bath for at least one hour.
Warm half & half, place dried mushrooms in half & half, stir, and set aside to soak. When mushrooms are soft the mixture is ready
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
In a large sauce pan bring oil to 375 degrees.
Whisk together the batter ingredients until smooth.
Pat dry onion rings and dip into batter then place directly into oil and fry for about 5 minutes or until golden. Place on a rack or paper towels, repeat until done, set aside
Place a large sauce pan full of water on high heat to boil, with a pinch of salt. Also get an ice bath ready for the green beans, you will be blanching them first. Place green beans a bunch at a time in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transfer to ice bath, repeat until done. Once cool, pat dry, and layer in a deep baking dish and set aside.
Next in a skillet place butter,garlic and shallots over medium heat and saute until soft. Now add the flour and whisk until the mixture turns a golden brown. While still whisking slowly pour in half & half mixture and whisk until smooth. Add thyme, nutmeg and parsley, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir until thickens.
Once sauce is thicken pour over green beans in baking pan.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until green beans are soft but still have a bit crispiness. Remove foil and return to the oven to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove, top with onion rings and serve.
If you are not serving right away do not place the onion rings on top, they will get soggy if they sit for 10 minutes are more on top of green beans. There are more onion rings then you need but as you have people in the kitchen with you they will slowly start to disappear.