Published November 1, 2006.
The classic combo 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?
It seems that almost everybody has a fond memory of the classic Campbell Soup green bean casserole—frozen green beans in a sauce made from condensed mushroom soup and topped with canned onions—but we found that the standard recipe had a bland and stodgy quality that came from using nothing but processed convenience products.
We wanted to come up with a casserole that deserved a place alongside the homemade dishes at a holiday dinner table.
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.list of recipes