Monday, November 7, 2011

French Onion Green Bean Casserole – It’s Soupy!

If someone calls your green bean casserole “soupy,” it’s usually not a compliment. Here though, it’s completely appropriate. I wanted to rework the iconic Thanksgiving side dish, and wondered what would happen if I brought in some of the tastes and textures that make French onion soup such a favorite.

Somewhat strangely, the final product didn’t remind me at all of French onion soup, but was quite delicious nonetheless, and would certainly be well received around your holiday table. Caramelized onions and melted Gruyere cheese are never a bad idea together, and would make for a great alternative to the old, canned fried onion-topped version.

One small change I would make next time, and that I’ve added to the ingredients list, is a small splash of sherry vinegar added to the onion mixture. As you hardcore foodwishers know, that is the secret ingredient in our famous French onion soup recipe, and I believe it would have better balanced out the sweetness of the dish.

Of course, it goes without saying that you can use just about any cheese you like, and a nice sharp cheddar would definitely work very well here. Anyway, as you start to put together your Thanksgiving menu, I hope you keep this “soupy” side dish in mind. Enjoy!

For the onions:
2 tbsp butter
2 or 3 yellow onions, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (stirred into the onions after they are caramelized)

For the white sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 1/2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups milk
pinch of nutmeg
cayenne to taste
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

For the topping:
2/3 cup panko or other style bread crumbs
2 tbsp melted butter

For the rest:
2 lbs green beans, trimmed, blanched
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz grated Gruyere cheese, divided
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

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