Thanksgiving Sides

Green Bean Casserole

So, as we are in Thanksgiving time lets make the usual special by making the sides special.

To me some of the most traditional sides are cranberry sauce & green bean casserole

Most of us use pre-made & frozen ingredients but these simple sides can be done with fresh ingredients and turn the ordinary into inspired.

Cranberry sauce Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries washed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar + additional to taste
  • ¼ cup local, raw honey (fire in the hole – can get at the Lockhart Farmer’s Market)
  • Juice of 1 blood orange (can substitute Valencia orange)
  • Zest of 1 lime

Cranberry sauce instructions

Just put all the ingredients in a thick bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Taste to sweeten additionally to preference if needed.

Reduce heat to low and cook at a simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the cranberries are soft and are starting to fall apart.  At this point pull of the heat and let cool.  It will thicken as it cools.

Green bean casserole Ingredients

  • 4 pounds fresh haricot verts cut in ½ – thin French green beans (make sure they are not wet looking)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 of a peeled white onion finely chopped
  • 5 whole peeled garlic cloves thinly sliced (like in the Movie Goodfellas)
  • 2 pounds shitake mushrooms rough chopped
  • 3 – 4 shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmigianino Reggiano cheese
  • 4 fresh sage leaves roughly chopped
  • Flour (cake flour is best but all-purpose is fine)
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3-4 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • Spanish paprika
  • 1 large red bell pepper seeded, deveined and finely diced

Green bean casserole Instructions

In a sauté pan over medium low heat sweat onion, red bell pepper, garlic, sage, mushrooms, nutmeg and bay leaves with all the butter once everything is soft and lightly colored, add the lemon juice, crushed red pepper & season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add all the heavy cream.

Reduce by 1/4 and take off the heat. *remove the bay leaves, add both kinds cheeses and stir until melted & incorporated.

Toss the haricot verts and the seasoned cream mixture in a large mixing bowl and re-season to taste.  Put the mixture in a casserole dish and cover with foil.  Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

While casserole is baking, season flour in a shallow bowl with salt, pepper and paprika dredge the thinly sliced shallots until coated completely. Dust off the shallots and fry until golden brown and crisp over medium heat in oil in batches and set aside.

When casserole comes out, remove foil and turnover the beans in the casserole dish so the bottom beans are on top and pat down.  At this point the casserole can be cooled and refrigerated for a few days and reheated in the oven on Thanksgiving Day

Turn the oven to high and bake for an additional ten minutes until lightly brown on top.

Top with the fried shallots just before serving.

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