November 18, 2013

All families have that one dish that makes their Thanksgiving table complete. For many, it's green bean casserole, but have you ever thought about how it became an American staple?

According to the Campbell's Soup Co., Dorcas Reilly created the casserole in 1955. She was part of the home economics department at the company's headquarters in Camden, N.J.. She and her team in the test kitchen were determined to create a "quick and easy dish that could be made from ingredients that most Americans have in their pantry." Reilly figured most households have two staples on hand at all times: Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and green beans.

The original recipe requires only a handful of ingredients, but over the years this iconic recipe has been jazzed up depending on one's tastes.

In 2002 Reilly presented her original 8x11 recipe card to the National Inventors' Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. The yellowed card is now among the invention of the first nuclear reactor and Thomas Alva Edison's light bulb.

I did a quick poll on my personal Facebook page asking if green bean casserole was on my friends' Thanksgiving table. Many, many responses of "yes" came very quickly. Comments included "Always!" from Jeanette Bream of Carroll, and Brenda Pottebaum of Carroll said she tried to make green bean casserole take the place of the vegetable side. However, Brenda's family likes green bean casserole so much it's in addition to the veggie so there is casserole enough to go around.

The Classic Green Bean Casserole Recipes

This is the recipe that started it all. It comes from Campbell's Kitchen and contains only six ingredients.

1 can (10 3/4 oz) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon soy sauce

dash ground black pepper

4 cups cooked cut green beans

1 1/3 cups French's french fried onions

Mix the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, green beans and 2/3 cups of onions in a 1½ quart casserole. Bake the casserole at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot. Stir the casserole and sprinkle it with the remaining onions. Bake the casserole for 5 minutes more.

Tip: You can use 1 bag (16 to 20 oz) frozen green beans, 2 pkg. (9 oz each) frozen green beans, 2 cans (about 16 oz each) green beans or about 1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans for this recipe.


Use broccoli instead of green beans

Add Cheddar cheese to add creaminess

For more color, add diced red pepper

Yield: 6 servings

Crock Pot Green Bean Casserole

Don't have room in your oven for another casserole? Throw together the green bean casserole in the morning and let it cook on low in the slow cooker until dinner is served.

2 (16 oz) packages frozen cut green beans

2 (10.75 oz) cans cream of chicken soup

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (6 oz) can french-fried onions, divided

Combine green beans, cream of chicken soup, milk, Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, and half the can of french-fried onions in a slow cooker.

Cover and cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours. Top casserole with remaining french-fried onions and serve.

Note: Keep lid off slow cooker during serving time to keep french-fried onions crispy.

Emerilized Green Bean Casserole

If you're looking for a fancy green bean casserole, Emeril Lagasse has it. His concoction contains his recipe for cream of wild mushroom soup, his special blend of spices, gooey Fontina cheese, and spicy fried onions. It all comes together to make a "kicked up" green bean casserole.

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed and cut lengthwise into thin strips and blanched

2 1/4 cups Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup, recipe follows

2 tablespoons Essence, plus 2 teaspoons, recipe follows

2 cups grated fontina cheese

4 to 5 cups vegetable oil

2 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/16-inch thick)

hot pepper sauce

2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with the butter and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the green beans, Wild Mushroom Soup, 2 teaspoons of Essence, and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, and stir well. Pour into the prepared dish, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top, and bake until bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes.

In a large saucepan, add enough oil to come about 3 inches up the sides of the pan, and heat to 350 degrees.

Pat the onions dry. Drizzle hot sauce on the onions and toss. In a bowl, combine the flour and 2 tablespoons of the Essence. Add the onions and toss to coat evenly. Shake the onions to remove any excess flour and add in batches to the hot oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Top casserole with fried onions and serve.

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup chopped yellow onions

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

6 oz shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed, and sliced

6 oz oyster mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed, and sliced

8 oz cremini or button mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed, and sliced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup brandy

6 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring until the mushrooms give off their liquid and start to brown, about 7 minutes. Off the heat, add the brandy. Return to heat and bring to a boil and cook until glazed, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and puree with a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor. Add the cream, return to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust seasoning, to taste.

Yield: 8 servings

Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Green Bean and Artichoke Casserole

Artichoke hearts and Italian breadcrumbs create a green bean casserole with an Italian flair.

2 pounds fresh or frozen green beans

9 ounces frozen artichoke hearts or 2 cans artichoke hearts (not marinated)

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup parmesan cheese +2 tablespoons

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 tablespoon grated garlic

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, Italian flavor

salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam the green beans until just tender, drain. Thaw and chop the artichoke hearts (used canned if you can't find frozen, but not marinated).

In a large bowl, mix green beans, artichoke hearts, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 cup Parmesan, 1 cup regular Italian bread crumbs, and garlic together. Taste; add salt and pepper, to taste. Coat a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon in mixture. Drizzle with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle panko breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake for additional 20 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Oriental Green Bean Casserole

The original green bean casserole contained soy sauce to add flavor. Besides soy sauce, this Oriental-style version adds grated ginger and sliced almonds and is topped with chow mein noodles.

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 clove garlic - minced

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (a pinch will do if using ground)

1/4 cup sliced green onion

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 1/2 cups chow mein noodles

4 cups cooked and cut green beans

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine soup, milk, soy sauce and garlic in a small saucepan. Cook just until heated through. Stir in ginger, green beans, green onion, almonds and 3/4 cup chow mein noodles. Spoon into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish and bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and add remaining 3/4 cup of chow mein noodles to the top. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until noodles are golden brown and casserole is bubbly.

Garnish with additional almonds and green onion if desired.