Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Serves 8.

Note: Haricot verts are a French variety of green beans that are small, slender and very tender. You can substitute regular green beans, but you may need to parcook them longer to get them crisp-tender (see directions below). The parcooking keeps the beans bright green and helps them cook evenly in the oven. From “Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book,” 17th edition.

• 1 1/2 lb. haricots verts, trimmed (see Note)

• 4 oz. pancetta or bacon

• 9 c. sliced, stemmed shiitake mushrooms and/or sliced cremini or button mushrooms (1 1/2 lb.)

• 6 garlic cloves, minced

• 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed

• Salt and pepper

• 2 tbsp. butter

• 2 tbsp. flour

• 1 1/2 c. half-and-half

• 1 (5.2 oz.) pkg. semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs, broken into pieces

• 1/4 c. dry white wine

• Crispy Shallots (see recipe) or commercial French-fried onions


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 2 1/2- to 3-quart gratin or baking dish.

In a 10-inch skillet, parcook beans in enough lightly salted boiling water to cover until crisp-tender, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain. Transfer beans to large bowl of ice water to stop cooking them; drain.

In the same skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain, reserving the drippings. Finely crumble or chop pancetta.

Meanwhile, add mushrooms, garlic and thyme to drippings in skillet (if there aren’t many drippings, you may need to add up to 1 tablespoon vegetable oil). Cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and liquid has evaporated. Stir in pancetta, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add mushroom mixture to beans, tossing gently to combine.

For sauce, in a 1-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook and stir 1 minute. Add half-and-half all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Whisk in cheese, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat; stir in wine. Pour sauce over green bean mixture, stirring gently just until combined. Transfer green bean mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and beans are tender. (If using commercially made French-fried onions, sprinkle them on the bean mixture for the last 5 minutes of baking.) Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Crispy Shallots.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 410 Fat 31 g Sodium 470 mg

Carbohydrates 28 g Saturated fat 14 g Total sugars 10 g

Protein 9 g Cholesterol 55 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 starch, ½ carb, ½ medium-fat protein, 5 ½ fat.



Crispy Shallots

Makes about 1 cup.

Note: From “Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book,” 17th edition.

• 3/4 c. vegetable oil

• 4 large shallots, sliced (1 c.)

• 1/2 c. milk

• 1 c. flour

• Salt


In a 1- or 1 1/2-quart saucepan, warm vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Dip a small handful of sliced shallots in the milk, letting excess drip off. Toss shallots in flour, shake off excess flour.

Place coated shallots in hot oil. Cook about 2 minutes or until golden and slightly crisp.

Using a slotted spoon transfer shallots to paper towels to drain; sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with remaining shallots, milk and flour. If necessary, reheat shallots on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 350-degree oven 10 minutes before topping casserole.