Active time: 40 min. Total time: 1 hour, 35 min.
Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)
Green bean casserole is great, but we just made it better. Our French Onion Green Bean Casserole is cheesy, creamy, and decadent, with a nice balance of Gruyere béchamel sauce, fresh blanched green beans, caramelized onions, and shaved Parmesan. On top there’s a thick layer of Parmesan and panko, which adds crunchiness while stepping away from traditional toasted onions and adds some serious flavor. Using dry sherry and time give the flavor a new twist, more like what you’d find in French Onion Soup, and elevate the feel of this traditional casserole. Be sure to take time with caramelizing the onions. If you turn up the heat too high or try to caramelizing them too quickly, the onions will burn. Feel free to swap out the panko topping for classic bread crumbs or saltine crackers if you’re looking for a more traditional feel.
- 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 oz.) unsalted butter, divided
- 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-in. pieces (8 cups)
- 8 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (from 3 [10-oz.] onions)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups half-and-half
- 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely shredded (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
- Cooking spray
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high. Add green beans, and cook until beans are tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain and set beans aside.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium. Add sliced onions, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are deeply golden brown and very aromatic, 24 to 28 minutes. If your onions are cooking too fast and beginning to burn, lower the heat accordingly. Once onions are deeply golden brown, add sherry, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Transfer onions to a plate; do not wipe skillet clean.
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-high until melted. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until well blended. Gradually add half-and-half, and cook, stirring constantly, until well blended, about 1 minute, scraping to release any flour mixture from bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil, and boil, stirring often, until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, and add Gruyère cheese and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring until cheese melts (about 15 seconds). Fold in green beans, making sure beans are evenly coated. Spoon green bean mixture into prepared baking dish.
Top green bean mixture evenly with 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with thyme and caramelized onions. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and panko in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over caramelized onions. Lightly spray Parmesan-panko topping with cooking spray.
Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in preheated oven 15 minutes. Remove foil, and bake until topping is golden brown and crisp, about 15 more minutes. Garnish with additional thyme, and serve immediately.
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