We are officially under the three-week mark for Thanksgiving! How is your planning/preparation going? Do you just wing it the week (or day) of, or are you more like me, testing out recipes for up to weeks in advance?
I am always terrified that my so-called “fool-proof” recipe will turn out to be a hot mess and I won’t have time to recover before the big feast ensues. Though you may think me paranoid, you can thank that ridiculous fear for today’s recipe!
Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole: a fix-it-and-forget-it Thanksgiving side dish, that requires absolutely NO canned soup of any kind.
It’s weird to admit this, but Green Bean Casserole actually falls under the “Fear No Food” section of this blog. It was never a dish we had at Thanksgiving at my home, so I never had any experience with what a good green bean casserole should be.
I did, however, try many less-than-stellar versions, which always left me asking the question: why is Green Bean Casserole so mushy? Coming to the conclusion that this casserole is not supposed to lack texture, I set out to create a version of my own that leaves the canned soups and canned fried onions (seriously, how do they even make those?) behind.
In my very simple version, I braised fresh green beans and mushrooms in a bit of chicken stock in my slow cooker. Towards the end of cooking time, I mix a slurry of cornstarch and chicken stock into the liquid in the bottom of the slow cooker, and let if finish cooking for another 15 minutes. The slurry thickens the cooking liquid into a simple sauce, and then it’s just a matter of topping the faux-casserole with freshly fried shallots. By cooking the vegetables this way, you preserve their texture while still getting that creamy casserole texture.
The next few weeks are going to be full of slow-cooker thanksgiving recipes; if you have a tiny oven like I do, or just don’t own an oven big enough to store every single part of your Thanksgiving meal, you’re going to want to break out that slow cooker. It frees up oven space for things that truly need it (i.e. that big ole’ turkey) and requires just the tiniest bit of effort.
I know freshly fried shallots may sound a little tricky, but they are surprisingly simple and only need a few minutes to reach crispy golden perfection. I throw my sliced shallots into a plastic bag with a bit of flour, close it, and shake gently. Then, all your shallots are perfectly coated and ready to be pan-fried into the perfect crunchy topping to your Green Bean Casserole.
I am no longer afraid of this classic holiday side dish, and you shouldn’t be either! I hope it ends up on your dinner table in the next few weeks; I know it’ll be on mine. 🙂
Happy Slow Cooking!