Cast Iron-Baked Green Bean Casserole with Fried Onions
Lest there be some confusion, let’s get this out of the way: The original green bean casserole was a canned affair. Invented by Dorcas Reilly for Campbell’s Test Kitchen in 1955, it involved just six ingredients (milk, soy sauce, green beans, french fried onions and most famously, condensed cream of mushroom soup) that could be thrown together in just 10 minutes.
While we generally agree that gussying up nostalgic foods misses the point, we like the revved-up texture and flavour that fresh ingredients bring to green bean casserole. While we didn’t want to stray too far from tradition — after all, the Campbell’s Test Kitchen recipe is so well loved that it’s served on about 20 million tables every year — we did add a few flourishes to elevate the dish.
First and foremost, this recipe calls for fresh green beans. In place of the canned soup, we use heavy cream, broth and a combination of shiitake and portobello mushrooms. A sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano lends a salty, nutty kick. And of course, it’s topped with fried onions. (It’s not a green bean casserole without them, right?) The real beauty of this revamped recipe is that it’s still simple (though admittedly not a dump-and-stir situation) and can be prepared up to one day ahead of time, then baked when you’re ready to eat.
If you need additional side dish ideas, try our Marshmallow and Pecan-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole, Cast-Iron Brown Butter Griddle Stuffing With Chestnuts and Herbs, Extra Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, or Cast Iron Mash Potatoes with Goats Cheese.
Note: If you’re a stickler for tradition, you can sub out the cream, stock, and Parmesan in place of traditional canned mushroom soup. Simply mix the cooked shallots and mushrooms with the blanched beans, canned soup, and a splash of milk to your preferred consistency.
300 grams fresh green beans
Kosher salt (for blanching)
43 grams salted butter
3 shallots, finely sliced
Pinch flaked sea salt
0.8 grams garlic powder
3 to 4 shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
3 to 5 closed cup mushrooms, finely sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
150 millilitres chicken stock, fresh or instant
150 millilitres heavy (double) cream
50 grams grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
70 grams crispy onions
Trim the tops and ends of your green beans, then cut in half. Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, and prepare an ice bath nearby. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and add the beans to the ice bath.
Grease your cast iron skillet with ⅓ of the butter.
On the stovetop, melt the rest of the butter. Add the sliced shallots and cook on medium heat until soft and translucent (roughly 5 minutes). Season with salt and garlic powder, add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, until soft and reduced in size. Season with pepper and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the chicken stock and cream. Reduce over a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken, then stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the green beans and half the crispy onions. Stir thoroughly to combine. Pour the mixture into your greased skillet and cover with aluminium foil. At this stage, you can leave the pan and remaining ingredients in the fridge overnight until you’re ready to cook (up to 24 hours), or cook right away.
When you’re ready to cook the casserole, fire up your Ooni pizza oven. Aim for 260˚C on the stone baking board inside. Check the temperature accurately using the infrared thermometer.
Place the covered pan in the corner farthest from the flames. Cook for 20 minutes, turning the pan every 5 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and top the casserole with the remaining crispy onions. Return the pan to the oven and cook uncovered for up to 3 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp.
Remove the pan and serve right away alongside the rest of your festive feast.