Thursday, December 06, 2007

Creamy Green Bean Casserole

While spending thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle's place, we couldn't help but notice all the TV ads for that nasty-ass canned green bean/condensed soup/fried onion casserole. It got my Aunt and I thinking-- fresh green beans don't sound too bad... what about a casserole thickened with a roux, packed with cheese and bacon? Well, I finally tried it (changed the bacon to ham; I didn't want to overpower the green beans) and it's mighty fine! So utterly creamy, with a topping of crunchy potato chips. Gluten-Free AND Condensed-Soup Free!

Serves 2 (3 as a side dish)
40 minutes
Pre-heat oven to 425 F.
-large saucepan
-9" cake pan (-or- favorite casserole dish; no need for a lid)

2 cups fresh green beans, ends removed
1 medium white onion, halved then thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. butter or non-dairy alternative (I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods buttery spread)
1.5 Tbsp. GF flour (I used Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour-- I think it's mainly sorghum)
6 slices of honey ham, cut into bits/squares (I'm a cheap grad student and used Oscar Mayer cold cut slices, cut into squares
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, or non-dairy alternative (GNFoods soy Parmesan)
1/4 cup. grated cheddar cheese, or non-dairy alternative (GNFoods rice slices)
1 cup Swanson Natural Goodness chicken broth (one half of a 14 oz can)
3/4 cup smashed Original Wavy Lays potato chips

0. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. Set out your casserole dish... I used a 9" non-stick cake pan because they're way easy to clean.
1. Wash the fresh green beans. Remove the ends and cut the longer beans in half (so none are over 2 inches long). Place cut beans in the large saucepan and cover with water.
2. Bring the beans to a rolling boil over high heat. Boil the green beans in for 5 minutes; don't overcook, you want them to be crisp-tender. Drain the beans (discard the water) and set beans aside in the waiting casserole dish. Now on to the sauce...
3. Peel and wash the onion. Slice into thin O's. Half the onion rings so you have half-circles. Set aside.
4. Melt butter in same, emptied, large saucepan over low heat. Stir in GF flour until smooth. Raise temperature to medium-low. Cook flour mixture, barely bubbling, for a minute. Add in cut white onion. Stir to coat (roux should be thick and sticky).
5. Get out your ham slices and tear off small pieces (I used my fingers). Add ham pieces to the saucepan. Mix well to coat. Cook onion and ham for 5 minutes, or until onions begin to turn translucent.
6. Add in parmesean cheese and cheddar cheeese. Stir well . Also add in chicken broth in 1/4 cup increments, stirring between each broth addition. The roux should thin a little, but not clump up. It should be smooth and creamy. Taste; add more cheese if you wish.
7. Combine onion/cheese sauce with cooked green beans-- I spooned the waiting beans from the casserole dish back into the saucepan, but if you have a large casserole dish, mix everything together in there instead. Mixture should be thick, coating the beans.
8. Spoon beans/sauce into waiting casserole dish (cake pan). Crumble smashed Wavy Lay's Original potato chips over the top.
9. Cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes in preheated 425 F degree oven; or until the top browns and the sauce is bubbly. Let cool 2-3 minutes before serving.