A fresh green bean casserole with cheese, featuring freshly cooked green beans, a simple, and an incredible homemade cream of mushroom sauce.
There is not a casserole I crave more come the holidays than green bean casserole with cheese. As a little girl, green beans were my favorite vegetable. The idea of getting to smother them in a creamy cheese sauce was…well, pretty much a dream come true, and it was one of the first dishes I ever learned to make.
I can recall standing by my dad’s side in the kitchen, as he showed me how the layers were supposed to go: A drained can of green beans, half a can of cream of mushroom, top it with slices of Velveeta, then repeat the layers, and top it off with a heaping cup of fried onions.
Decades later, with two little girls by my side, we are still making green bean casserole with cheese come the holidays, just a somewhat elevated version. I don’t cook with canned vegetables, and it made no sense to buy them for casserole purposes, knowing fresh green beans were extremely easy to prepare and by comparison, a superior product.
HOW TO MAKE FRESH GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE WITH CHEESE
My updated, homemade green bean casserole with cheese features fresh green beans, a homemade cream of mushroom soup and freshly grated Cheddar cheese. And, if you don’t mind me saying so, the very best green bean casserole you will ever taste. Guaranteed.
FRESH GREEN BEANS OVER CANNED
Fresh green beans have a sweet and somewhat nutty flavor. They boast a lovely texture once cooked, and hold up beautifully baked in a casserole. But, quite possibly the best part is that they are beyond simple to make, and if you can boil water, you can make fresh green beans.
To simplify working with fresh green beans, buy the already snipped and strung, pre-packaged bags in the produce section of the grocery store.
EASY HOMEMADE CREAM OF MUSHROOM
I came across a version of this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Comfort Foods by Rick Rogers. I had never made a homemade version of Cream of Mushroom soup before but was pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of it.
Homemade cream of mushroom begins on the stovetop with melted butter. In goes the chopped mushrooms, followed by an onion for flavor. Once cooked, flour is sprinkled over the vegetables, and cream is added one big splash at a time, stirring well after each addition. Chicken broth, a touch of soy sauce (added for depth of flavor), salt and pepper are added, and the mixture bubbles altogether until slightly thickened.
FRESHLY GRATED CHEESE MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Trading in the processed cheese food for actual real cheese might be one of my favorite new additions to the green bean casserole. I would also encourage buying a block of Cheddar, rather than the bagged, pre-shredded version. Freshly grated cheese is smooth and creamy, and similar to the fresh green beans, it is a completely different product than its processed counterpart.
FRENCH FRIED ONIONS – SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE
The first homemade green bean casserole I ever made, I actually breaded and fried shallots in place of the French fried onions. However, it added a great deal of work and time to the process, made for extra clean up, and I found when used as a topping, the casserole was lacking overall in texture.
As hard as it is for me to say, in this case, I would actually recommend French’s French Fried Onions. They remain crispy even after the casserole is baked, and have a great deal of flavor.
Green bean casserole is a favorite holiday casserole for so many, why not make it extra special this year by putting a little extra T.L.C. into the dish? Fresh green beans, a homemade cream of mushroom and freshly, grated Cheddar cheese — it’s a combination that could do you no wrong.
You and your taste testers will fall in love with this casserole upgrade, and I suspect you too will likely find it difficult to go back to the processed version. Please, enjoy.
A green bean casserole featuring freshly cooked green beans, a simple, homemade cream of mushroom sauce and freshly grated Cheddar cheese.
- 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) Green Beans, washed and trimmed
- 1/4 cups Unsalted Butter
- 1 Yellow Onion Finely Diced
- 8 ounces White Button Mushrooms wiped cleaned roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1/2 cup Unsalted Chicken Broth
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Soy Sauce
- 8 ounces Cheddar Cheese freshly grated
- 1 cup French’s Crispy Fried Onions
Preheat the oven to 350°, and have ready a large pot of boiling water and a greased 9x13 casserole dish.
Carefully, add the prepared green beans to the pot of boiling water and allow them to cook for 5-7 minutes, just until al dente.
Remove from the stove top and strain into a colander. Run under cold water until cool to the touch and no longer steaming. Set aside until ready to use.
Add butter to a large saucepan over medium heat and allow to melt. Add the onion and mushrooms to the Dutch oven and sauté 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to coat. Add the cream a splash at time, whisking after each addition, until the mixture resembles pudding. Stream in the remaining cream and the chicken broth. Stir to combine and allow to simmer and slightly thicken, about 6 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the Cheddar, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Add in green beans and stir. Transfer the contents to the casserole dish.
Top with remaining Cheddar, cover with aluminum foil and bake 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle fried onions across the top. Return to the oven uncovered to bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until bubbly and the onions have deepened in color.