I got this green bean casserole recipe from my chef friend, Michelle Bernstein last Thanksgiving, but there just wasn’t enough time to run it back then. But with Easter next week, I realized this is the perfect holiday side dish to that ham or lamb many of us are planning to serve.
I also wanted to run Michelle’s French Bean Casserole because I had coincidentally tested the recipe the day Maggy was headed to a potluck and had been asked to bring a vegetable. I suggested this to her. She called on her way home from the party and said “everyone had gone crazy” was the phrase I believe she used to describe the reaction to Michelle’s makeover dish.
When I asked Michelle the story behind it she said, “I’m a vegetable fanatic. I mostly prefer them lightly steamed or grilled and tossed with olive oil. But for intergenerational holidays I wanted to do a little makeover on this beloved casserole.” She says it has all the creaminess and crunch of the classic while intriguing the most finicky eater. She’s right.
Thanks, Michelle. (Isn’t she cute?)
Michelle Bernstein’s French Bean “Casserole”
Marcona almonds—mostly imported from Spain—are smaller, rounder, softer, and sweeter than most almond varieties. They’re becoming more widely available—Costco carries them—but if you can’t find them, substitute toasted sliced almonds. You can substitute 1 pound pre-sliced cremini mushrooms for the shitakes and creminis. You can also substitute 0% Greek yogurt for the sour cream. It breaks slightly when you stir it into the green beans, but in the end it’s almost undetectable.
Serves 6 to 8
1 pound green beans
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced thin
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
1/2 pound cremini cleaned and sliced thin
1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons each: chopped fresh parsley and tarragon
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped Marcona almonds
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Ground black pepper
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place green beans, 1/2 cup water, and sprinkling of salt in a large skillet; cover, turn burner on high, and cook until beans are bright green and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Immediately cool beans in an ice bath, drain again, and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until butter foams. Add onions; cook stirring until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic; saute until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add mushrooms, saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth; simmer until it forms thin gravy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in sour cream and herbs and then the green beans; cook until heated through. Transfer to oven; cook to blend flavors, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and almonds; stir until golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemon zest and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper; cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes; set aside. Sprinkle warm green beans with seasoned breadcrumbs and serve immediately.