For many, no Thanksgiving is complete without a classic green bean casserole. According to Campbell’s, which is responsible for the original recipe, it’s served at 20 million tables every year. There are many variations of this perfect side dish out there, including ones made with canned soup and canned green beans, some made in slow cookers, those finished with cheddar cheese and bread crumbs, and of course, the one known as French’s Green Bean Casserole, which is topped with the brand’s signature Crispy Fried Onions.
In 2016, our own Chris Morocco set out to develop his version of the ideal homemade green bean casserole recipe. He swapped out Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup for fresh, sliced criminis and a béchamel finished with Parmesan, which captures the intensity of just-seared mushrooms as well as all the umami potential of the nutty aged cheese. Well-browned mushrooms are crucial for building flavor here, so make sure not to salt them until they’ve reached a dark brown hue (salting them too soon will lead to soggy, steamed ʼshrooms instead). Chris’s recipe also calls for fresh green beans instead of canned to maintain a crisp-tender (never mushy) texture.
As for the crunchy finish on top of the bean mixture that everyone is vying for at the Thanksgiving table? You can make your own with fried shallots, but those bottled crispy fried onions from French’s are famous for a reason: they are astonishingly delicious and practically define this recipe, so we didn’t mess with them here.
While many a casserole dish can be made ahead of time, this one is best made the day of, so plan accordingly and use the bake time to work on other classic holiday side dishes, like mashed potatoes, and putting the finishing touches on a savory sweet potato casserole.
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