A Chef Debra Inspiration!
The gourmet green bean casserole recipe is designed to be a teaching tool for cooks who are returning to their kitchens. If you are already comfortable cooking with vision loss, you may not need the details in the included links. If you are new to our tools and new to cooking with vision loss, these recipes as written and their links will be helpful. The links will take you to the description, including a video, of the tools being used.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
For an easier version, go to our Traditional Green Bean Casserole recipe.
1 and one-half pounds of fresh green beans
4 tablespoons butter
1 large or 2 small shallots
One-half red bell pepper
12 ounces fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon black pepper
1-quarter teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon Worchester sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 large cloves of garlic (or 4 small) grated
Dash of cayenne (optional)
4 tablespoons flour
1 and one-half cup vegetable broth
1-half cup of half and half
1-half cup grated Gruyere cheese
2 cups Crispy Onion Strings (link to recipe)
This recipe is prepared in 6 phases:
- Prepare 2 cups of Crispy Onion Strips (link to recipe)
- Prepare the fresh ingredients: Shallots, green beans, red bell peppers, mushrooms
- Par-steam the green beans and blanch
- Saute the mushrooms and diced red pepper
- Make a roux-based white sauce
- Assemble and bake, then broil
Cut and measure all of the ingredients before you start to cook. Some are added quickly, one after the other (for example, the vegetable stock to the flour/butter roux). A delay in measuring the stock can result in the roux being cooked too long and losing some of its thickening power.
The same goes for sauteing the fresh vegetables: they are added in a relatively quick orderly sequence and if you are slicing the mushrooms, the diced shallots being cooked in the pan will probably burn before you can finish. I like a well-planned “mise en place” which translates to “everything in its place” and is my mantra for a more relaxed cooking experience.
Arrange all ingredients on a work tray before you start to cook.
Fill a sink with hot soapy water for quick immersion of your hands (learn more about this cooking tip in Start with soapy hot water) and use a towel clip to keep a clean cloth handy at all times.
Use a salad spinner to plunge your green beans after they are steamed. It works as a drainer and you can give them a quick spin to dry them further so that the delicious white sauce is in their nooks and crannies, not flavorless water.
Rinse 1 and one-half pounds of fresh green beans, trim the ends and cut in half, or into 2 to 3-inch pieces. Set aside.
Clean and thickly slice 12 ounces of mushrooms.
Peel and fine dice 2 small or one large shallot. Set aside.
Tools: Finger Guard and Cut Glove
Clean, deseed, and medium dice one-half red bell pepper.
Tools: Finger Guard and Cut Glove
Peel and grate 2 large cloves of garlic or 3 small cloves
Grate one-half cup of Gruyere cheese
Par cook the green beans.
Steam the green beans for 3 to 4 minutes to start the cooking process. They should be a bit softer than raw, but still be a bit crispy. They will cook more later. Immediately plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking and retain their color. Drain and set aside.
In the same (now empty) pan, over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil after you know that the pan is hot. Use your finger to quickly “tap” the top rim of the pan. If the top of the pan is hot, you can be sure that the bottom of the pan is hot too. This “tap” movement also helps you to know exactly where the pan is and if it is centered on the burner. The secret to not getting burned is to tap quickly and pull the finger back immediately.
Saute the diced shallots, diced red bell peppers, and sliced mushrooms for 4 to six minutes.
You should just barely hear it sizzling.
Add in the grated garlic and cook for one minute more. Remove all from the pan and set aside. Do not clean the pan.
Make a roux-based white sauce.
In the same pan melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. You should just barely hear it sizzling. Use the whisk to check if the butter is fully melted. The smell of the butter will change to a “nutty” aroma—that is a good thing.
Add 4 tablespoons of flour to the melted butter and whisk constantly.
Cook and whisk constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until well combined and the raw flour smell is cooked out.
Add in 1 and one-half cup vegetable broth and continue to whisk for 4 more minutes. Whisk constantly to avoid lumps from forming. The flour wants to stick together, but if you whisk it well you will coat each grain with slippery butter and it will not be able to stick together to form lumps. Remove pan from heat.
Add the following to the cooling pan:
- 1 teaspoon Worchester sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-quarter teaspoon nutmeg
Stir until well combined.
Add in par-cooked green beans.
Add in one-half cup half and half. You do this while the pan is off the heat to prevent curdling or the cream from separating, commonly referred to as a “broken sauce”. No broken sauces in The Blind Kitchen!
Put the pan back on the stove over medium heat stirring gently and constantly. Cook for about 5 minutes until well mixed and hot. You do not want it to boil.
Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Grease an 8 to 12-cup capacity oven-safe dish with butter or oil.
Add one-half of the Crispy Onion Strings to the mixture cooling in the pan and mix gently.
Pour the mixture into the oven-safe baking dish and spread to an even layer. Do not press it down firmly so that the heat can circulate through as much of the food as possible.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. Remove from the oven.
Distribute the grated Gruyere cheese evenly on top of the mixture.
Tool: Cut Glove – I use a cut glove on my non-dominant hand to offer an extra layer of protection between my fingers and the hot food. They are not meant to protect from heat as the Heat Gloves are, but for a task like this, the Heat Gloves are too bulky to offer much tactile information. The Cut Gloves are a thin layer that gives you information and should not remain in contact with the hot food. All you need is a quick tap to help you know where you are at as you sprinkle the cheese over the hot mixture.
Sprinkle the remaining Crispy Onion Strips over the top of the bean mixture. Do not stir. They will brown on the top.
Tool: Cut Gloves
Put the dish into the oven under the broiler for three to four minutes until the onions are sizzling and become crispy brown. Stay near the oven as it broils. You will hear them begin to sizzle and they will soon begin to smell more cooked. Remember that they were already cooked. Once you hear them sizzle you will know that they will start to burn in minutes so remove them soon after you hear the sound. There are about 30 seconds between broiled well and burned.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Tool: Heat Gloves