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 Now I love grandma’s  old green bean casserole as much as the next person! Those canned french cut beans drowned in cream of mushroom soup topped in canned french fried onions are somehow comforting and satisfying. But we all know this can’t be healthy for us! This old version is packed with fat and sodium.

In my organic produce shipment last week, I received some beautiful, fresh green beans and onions. A green bean casserole sounded great, so I hit the internet in search of a recipe. One of my favorite Food Network stars provided exactly what I was looking for. Mr. Alton Brown has provided the recipe for what he calls “The Best Ever Green Bean Casserole”. He demonstrated how too make this dish on his show Good Eats.

On a side note, if you haven’t checked out the show Good Eats, I highly recommend it. Old episodes are available on Netflix. This is a tongue in cheek look at cooking that often examines the science and history behind cooking. It’s a lot of fun and very educational. It’s a perfect show for kids and adults that like to cook.

Best Ever Green Bean Casserole


• For the topping:

• 2 medium onions, thinly sliced

• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

• 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• Nonstick cooking spray

For beans and sauce:

• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

• 1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

• 1 cup chicken broth

• 1 cup half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.