Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aggie's Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients for the green beans:
2 T kosher salt
1 pound string beans, ends trimmed, beans cut in half
ice cubes

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Ingredients for the mushroom base:
1 T unsalted butter
12 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or put through a garlic press
3 T all purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup sour cream

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Ingredients for the shallots:
4 cups canola oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3 medium shallots, peeled and cut into thin rounds
kosher salt

Preparing the green beans:
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. When the water boils, add the salt to the water and then add the green beans. Cook for 4 minutes.

Preparing the ice bath:
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and add some cold water. Place a colander squarely inside the ice bath. The colander will keep you from having to pick the beans out from amongst the ice cubes in the ice bath. When the beans are cooked, remove them from the hot water with a strainer and transfer them to the colander inside the ice bath. Use a spoon to swirl the beans around in the ice bath so they are sure to cool down immediately. Drain and set aside.

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Preparing the mushroom base:
In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter and add the mushrooms. Season with salt, to taste, and add the cayenne and mustard. Stir to blend and cook until the mushrooms give off most of their liquid, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a whisk, add the garlic and flour to the mushrooms. When all of the flour has been incorporated, add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the cream and sour cream and simmer gently. Continue cooking over low heat until the mixture thickens, 12 to 15 minutes.

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Preparing the shallots:
Combine the flour and cayenne. Toss the shallot rounds in the flour and shake off the excess by shaking the rounds in a strainer once they have been floured.

Heat oil in a frying pan to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels or a brown paper grocery bag.

Test the oil by dropping in 1 shallot slice. It should begin to bubble and fry gradually.

Drop a small batch of the shallots into the oil and gently swirl the oil as they fry. This will help them they fry more evenly on all sides. When they are light to medium brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and lay them out on the kitchen towel to cool. Sprinkle with salt.

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Assembling the casserole:
Stir the green beans and some of the shallots into the mushrooms. Simmer on the stove, over low heat until the green beans become tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Just before serving, top with all of the remaining shallots.

Serves 8 to 10


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