Since its start in the mid-1950s as the casserole of choice for American holidays, the green bean casserole, made with cream of mushroom soup, has retained its spot as one of the to[ recipes of the 20th century, says author Jean Anderson in "The American Century Cookbook." But you do have other options for green bean casserole. Making your own mushroom sauce, experimenting with other cream soups and going ethnic are just a few possibilities.
Made From Scratch
With homemade mushroom sauce, you'll reduce the sodium from the soup version and increase the quantity of flavorful mushrooms. Begin with a white sauce made with 2 parts of chicken stock for each 1 part of flour. For 1 pound of green beans, you'll need 1 cup of stock and 1/2 cup of flour. Once the sauce has thickened, add plenty of mushrooms you have cooked with butter, sherry and 1 tablespoon flour. Add salt, pepper and cooked green beans before cooking the casserole until it's bubbling hot.
If You Like Mac and Cheese
For a rich and cheesy green bean casserole, think of the beans like the noodles in a macaroni and cheese casserole and surround them with a thick and cheesy sauce. Use the same proportions of flour and stock as you would for a homemade white sauce and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar, Swiss or Gruyere cheese, stirring until the cheese melts completely. Add the green beans and a topping before baking the casserole as usual.
Other Canned Soups
If you like the flavors of soup mixes and want the convenience of using them, you may like other types of canned soups for green bean casserole instead of cream of mushroom. Mild-flavored cream soup varieties include celery, chicken, chicken with herbs and potato. Cream soup varieties similar to cream of mushroom include chicken and mushroom, and mushroom with roasted garlic and onion. For a stronger flavor, try cheddar cheese or broccoli cheese canned soups.
Outside the Soup Can
Take a page from your local Thai restaurant and create a peanut sauce to give your green bean casserole a new taste. For the simplest sauce, stir 1 cup of peanut butter into a homemade white sauce made with coconut milk instead of chicken stock or cow's milk. If you want, add a few tablespoons of jarred curry paste for some heat and balance the flavors with a squeeze of fresh lime. Use either the same crunchy onion topping or substitute chopped peanuts on top instead.
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