Green Bean Cassarole

Different strokes for different folks
I’m home alone for a week after my second trip to Ohio in as many months. This time it was to visit with son-from-France and brother-from-Georgia. Wife is staying on for her high school reunion, which explains my home aloneness.

In the days leading up to the trip, we tried to use up all things fresh, but didn’t make it through a pound of green beans. Those, we spread out in a metal pan and froze, au natural. I don’t recommend freezing fresh green beans, except in dire straits… they do retain their color and flavor, but the texture goes all limp.

After airplane delays on my trip home, I arrived late in the night and ate a can of chicken noodle soup. I dreamed of green bean casserole.

green_bean_casserole.JPG.jpg

There’s always a pound o’ ground in the freezer and I made Chunky Tomato Base shortly before the trip. We’ve had a half used box of instant mashed potatoes in the cupboard for over a year, but that stuff has no sell-by date. All set.

I think we picked this recipe up in Roanoke, Virginia. In any case, it’s meat, potatoes and green vegetables in one pot, and it’s been one of my favorites for those comfort casserole times. This heats up fine. In fact, in the refrigerating and reheating process, all the flavors moosh together and make an even more comfortable dish. Yum.

I make both a quick ‘n’ EZ off-the-shelf version and a slow(er) fresher version; or a combination of the two. What’s the difference? Taste.

Green Bean Casserole — EZ Version
3/4# ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
1 can tomato soup
Green beans (whole, frozen)
Mashed potatoes (instant is fine)

Brown the meat and chopped onion. Stir soup (undiluted) and green beans into meat. Put all into a casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes. Bake about 30 minutes at 350 ° to 375 ° until top is browned and juice is bubbling.

gb_casserole_served.jpg

Green Bean Casserole — Fresh Version
3/4# ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
2 cups Chunky Tomato Base
1/2 pound fresh green beans, steamed
2 potatoes, mashed

Brown the meat and chopped onion and put that in a casserole dish.
Steam the green beans, and layer those over the meat. Spoon the Chunky over the beans.
Make the mashed potatoes and spoon them in a thick blanket over all.
Bake about 30 minutes at 350 ° to 375 ° until top is browned and juice is bubbling.

CHUNKY TOMATO BASE
Adapted from Barbara Kafka’s “Soups: A Way of Life”

She uses it as a soup base, I use it as a chunky tomato sauce in lots of dishes.
2 medium onions, chopped
6 tablespoons olive oil
5 pounds tomatoes (I like Early Girls best for this, for their bright, shiney flavor)

Peel, seed and roughly chop tomatoes
Melt onions in oil
Add tomatoes, simmer 20 minutes
Use what you need and freeze the rest.
Note that there is no seasoning… season this sauce as you use it.

MASHED POTATOES
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, diced
about 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
salt & ground black pepper

1. Place potatoes in large saucepan; add cold water to cover by 1 inch and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes break apart when paring knife is inserted. Drain potatoes and return to the hot saucepan and stir them around until they’re dry.

2. Using potato masher, mash potatoes. With a wooden spoon, mix in butter until incorporated. Add milk or buttermilk to potatoes; folding gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

CODA
I always learn something when I’m writing these little tales. I wondered if I could find the origin of this silly little dish on the internet. What I found was an entirely different dish called, perhaps more properly, Green Bean Casserole. So here’s the version from Southern U.S. Cusine, followed by a tricked-up version from Paula Deen on the Food Network website:

Green Bean Casserole
From Diana Rattray,
Southern U.S. Cuisine

At a Glance
Course : Side Dish
Type of Prep : Bake, Casserole
Cuisine : U.S. Regional
Occasion : Thanksgiving

INGREDIENTS:
* 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
* 4 cups cooked green beans
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1 1/3 cups French fried onions

PREPARATION:
Mix soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup of the fried onions. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. Top with the remaining 2/3 cup fried onions and bake about 5 more minutes, until onions are lightly browned.
Serves 6.

Green Bean Casserole
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
Show: Paula’s Home Cooking
Episode: Bean Cuisine
1/3 stick butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups sliced green beans
3 cups chicken broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (2.8-ounce) can French-fried onion rings
Pinch House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup grated Cheddar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions and mushrooms in the butter. Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain. Add the green beans, mushroom soup, onion rings, and House Seasoning, to taste, to the onion mixture. Stir well. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then top the casserole with the Cheddar and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and cheese is melted.

Paula Deen’s House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Guess what? Campbell’s Soup has a recipe on their website almost identical to the Southern Cuisine recipe.

2 thoughts on “Green Bean Cassarole

  1. Re: the Green Bean Casserole recipes that you found on the internet, I think what you’ve stumbled upon is the fact that when Americans hear the word “casserole,” they immediately think “thickened with cream of mushroom soup.” What you’ve got here is what I (and I think a lot of other folks) would call “Shepherd’s Pie.”

    fyi, here’s a bunch of recipes calling themselves “green bean casserole” that I found thru the recipe widget on my dashboard. A quick look at a couple of them substantiates the casserole/mushroom soup link. Also, for some reason, this recipe website categorizes Green Bean Casserole under the rubric “Holiday Cooking, Xmas” – go figure.
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Holiday-Cooking/Christmas/Side-Dishes/Green-Beans/ViewAll.aspx

    Like

  2. Hi…I Googled for campbell soups, but found your page about Green Bean Cassarole…and have to say thanks. nice read.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s