One of my all-time favorite Thanksgiving dishes when I was growing up was the green bean casserole. You know the one, right? Canned green beans, covered in condensed mushroom soup and topped with fried onions??
With a big smile on my face, I would saddle right up to the casserole dish and place two big scoops of green bean casserole on my plate. Then I would skip off to the kiddo table where I would promptly eat all the fried onions off the top and would ignore the green beans and mushrooms because geez, what kid eats vegetables anyway??
But now that I’m all grown up I appreciate the humble vegetable – the green beans quietly growing up the trellis in the garden, the sound that mushrooms make when sizzling in hot oil and even the onion that makes me cry every single time I slice it.
So last year when I was asked to bring a vegetable side to Thanksgiving dinner, I thought of the humble green bean casserole. But instead of the heavy and canned casserole of my childhood, I wanted to make a lightened up and healthier version which would make the veggies really stand out.
So I sautéed some green beans in garlic, sliced up some mushrooms, added a little thyme, and then fried some thinly sliced shallots until they were crispy and golden brown. I piled all the veggies into a bowl and off we went to dinner.
The veggies were a hit and devoured right away – I didn’t even get a chance to get two scoops on my plate before they were all gone – the ultimate compliment!! The only change to the recipe this year? Making double the amount of crispy shallots…yum!
garlic green beans with mushrooms and crispy shallots
makes 6-8 servings
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
6 medium shallots
extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (use any kind you like, I used brown button)
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
In a small bowl, mix the paprika, cumin, coriander and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
Carefully peel the shallots from their outer skin, discarding the skin. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the shallots as thin as you can, and then your fingers to separate the shallots into rings. Place the shallots into a thin layer in a sauté pan and cover them with oil. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook the shallots until they turn light to golden brown. Strain the shallots from the oil and place the shallots onto some paper towels. Sprinkle with spice mixture and set aside to cool.
In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and the green beans. Cook the beans until tender, stirring frequently, about five minutes. Remove the beans to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
In the same sauté pan, over medium-high heat, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until the mushrooms have started to become golden, stirring occasionally, about five minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for an additional two minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and add to the top of the green beans.
Top the green beans and mushrooms with the crispy shallots and serve immediately.