green bean casserole

the first thing i will say about this post is “oops.” i forgot to take some lovely pictures of my deliciously crispy onions and a picture of the whole dish once it was put together and baked and at the thanksgiving table with all the other food. you’ll just have to trust me that it looks (and tastes) great.

now i feel like i have a confession to make: i don’t really like thanksgiving. it shouldn’t really be surprising that a vege/pescetarian doesn’t like a holiday devoted to turkey but i’m also not a big fan of mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams with marshmallows, or any of the other traditional fare. in fact, i tried to convince my parents multiple times when i was younger that we should have indian (read the subcontinent) food for the holidays. (it seemed more feast-like and delicious to me.)

i also don’t like the forgotten part of thanksgiving that the pilgrims struggling to survive were taking over native land, would have died without native help, and then went on to slaughter those who didn’t accept their values. not very thankful, were they.

anyway, the parts of thanksgiving i like are being able to drink with friends all day, green beans, and dessert. this was actually the first thanksgiving that i didn’t make pie! (don’t worry, i’ll correct that in the coming winter months. coconut cream anyone?) the boyfriend and i did bring smoked salmon dip, shrimp cocktail complete with homemade cocktail sauce ala smitten kitchen, rolls, and this delicious green bean casserole.

a few of the people attending had aversions to dairy and/or gluten so we substituted tofutti cream cheese in the salmon dip (couldn’t even tell) and this casserole is gluten free and, with the exception of half a cup of parmesan, dairy free. you can’t tell here either.

green bean casserole
serves 8-10

2 pounds green beans
1 cup shallots, julienned (about 2 large)
3 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/8 cup white wine, optional
1 teaspoon thyme
3 cups hemp milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
salt, to taste
1/2 cup parmesan, optional

topping:
2 yellow onions, julienned as thin as you can
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cornstarch
pinch salt
olive oil for pan frying

sauté the shallots for about 5 to 7 minutes until they begin to become transparent. add the mushrooms and cook another 5 to 7 minutes until they begin to release their juice. add the garlic and thyme and cook a minute more. if using, add the white wine now and cook another five minutes, stirring frequently.

add the hemp milk and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to simmer. in a separate small bowl or cup mix the cornstarch with 4 tablespoons water until it becomes a smooth liquid. add to the simmering hemp milk and stir until it thickens. if using, add the parmesan and incorporate into what is now a mushroom gravy. add salt to taste (i think i used 2 teaspoons) and let simmer while you prepare the rest.

boil a pot of water large enough to submerge all your green beans into. when at a rolling boil, add the green beans and let cook for 2 minutes. remove immediately and submerge the green beans in ice to halt the cooking. this will keep your green beans crisp and wonderful.

spread the green beans out in a 9×14 baking pan (or something around that size) and cover with the mushroom gravy.

to make the topping take the julienned onions and toss them with the flour, cornstarch, and salt. head up a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. pan fry the onions in the oil, stirring often, until the majority of the batch becomes crispy.* place on a pan covered with a paper towel.

when the onions are done frying cover the green beans with them and sprinkle with parmesan if you like.

bake at a 350 degree oven covered in foil for 30 minutes. remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more.

*the onions were honestly the hardest part of the dish but so delicious. i tried baking them first but the only ones that got crispy also were black and charred. pan frying was the best method but because some onions got dark while others were still soft, i recommend not doing this step much ahead of time. (i did it the night before and ended up pan frying them again the next morning because the moisture in the underdone onions sapped all the crispness out of the perfect ones.)

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