A bowl of green beans covered in cheese and bacon.

Greenbean Casserole…really?

Let’s have an honest moment, shall we? Green Bean Casserole is a common Thanksgiving dish. But if I’m honest, I’ve never liked it…and I don’t think my mother cooked it more than maybe once or twice. But alas, part of being ‘Chef Lorious’ is being willing to try things that have not previously appealed to me. Additionally, the whole concept of Calibama Cooking is mixing up the classic with contemporary to create new comfort foods. So having said all of that, I embarked on Green Bean Casserole. There are a few things I did that differ from the typical green bean casserole recipe, and for good reason!

  1. I used fresh green beans. Most recipes I’ve seen use canned green beans. If that’s the only option you have, no problem. Just be sure to rinse the beans to wash away the canned preserved taste. Fresh green beans brightened up the dish and the flavor was noticeably different.
  2. I added bacon. I have yet to meet a vegetable based dish that isn’t improved 1000% with bacon. Not a lot else to say about that.
  3. I created my own cream of mushroom cheese roux. This was my substitute for the can of cream of mushroom soup that generally goes in the dish. By making a basic roux I was able to capitalize on the richness of the heavy cream and the understated strength of the gruyere cheese. Gruyere has a somewhat nutty flavor, but it is not an aggressive flavor that tries to dominate the whole dish. It provides an extra layer of richness to the dish that can’t quite be pinpointed by the average holiday diner.
  4. I finished it in the oven so it could get bubbly and the different flavor could have extra time for a meet and greet in the oven. I’ve seen people serve it straight from the pot, which is acceptable since everything in the dish is completely cooked. But by putting it in the oven with a thin layer of said gruyere cheese, there’s something magical that happens.
  5. I made my own crispy fried onion straws. The package kind at the store will achieve the desired texture in the dish, but cooking your own will elevate the dish to a-whole-nother level. I seasoned mine with a little bit of kick–not too spicy, but just enough cayenne to know it was there.

So, when you make this dish, please take a pic and tag #ChefLorious.

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