Recipe Review

The Surprising Problem with Serious Eats’ Green Bean Casserole

updated Nov 12, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk | Design: The Kitchn

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Serious Eats is known for taking recipes seriously. From a strange-yet-effective method of breading chicken to aging cookie dough before baking it, their recipes always put quality above ease. So in my search for the all-time best green bean casserole recipe, I knew I needed to test their tried-and-true recipe, which they claim is an updated version of the classic.

Serious Eats’ recipe has several steps and is entirely homemade. You have to fry shallots until crispy, make a homemade mushroom base, and blanch and shock fresh green beans. It’s definitely a project, but I was excited to see if it was worth it.

Get the recipe: Serious Eats’ Ultimate Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk | Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Serious Eats’ Ultimate Homemade Green Bean Casserole

You’ll start by making the crisp shallots. Combine oil and sliced shallots in a wok or saucepan and cook until the shallots are golden-brown. Strain the shallots through a sieve, then transfer to a sheet pan lined with six layers of paper towels. Use the paper towels to soak up the excess grease, working through the layers of paper towels until just one remains. Season with salt, then let cool.

Smash fresh mushrooms underneath a large skillet to break them up, then roughly chop into pieces and set aside. In a medium bowl combine soy sauce, lemon juice, chicken stock, and heavy cream. Add some of the shallot oil and butter to a skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium, then add garlic followed by flour. Cook the flour until it’s light blonde, then add the stock mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, then season to taste.

Blanch green beans in boiling water and immediately transfer into ice water. Drain the beans, then combine with the sauce mixture along with some of the fried shallots. Transfer into a baking dish and bake until bubbling. Top with the rest of the shallots and serve.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Serious Eats’ Green Bean Casserole

This recipe was a delicious homemade version of the classic. The homemade mushroom base had a rich, complex flavor that made the casserole extra-hearty and intensely savory. The shallots were absolutely delicious with a nice crunchy texture. They gave the casserole a slightly sharper onion-y flavor compared to the store-bought fried onions most recipes are made with. It was a nice switch-up.

The issue with this recipe, however, was that it was too wet. The mushroom sauce was too watery and didn’t thicken up as much as I would have liked. It was more of a cream soup consistency compared to the thick and luscious mushroom base that I expect in green bean casseroles. It tasted good, but it was just way too watery. If I were to make this again I would definitely cut back the amount of liquid used.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Serious Eats’ Green Bean Casserole, a Few Tips

  1. Feel free to take some shortcuts to make things easier. Serious Eats’ says you can use store-bought crispy onions in place of the homemade fried shallots, or you can use two cans of cream of mushroom soup instead of making the base. If the recipe feels a bit too intimidating or time-consuming, go ahead and use one of these shortcuts.
  2. Use less liquid. I would highly recommend cutting back on both the stock and heavy cream to keep the casserole from being too wet. The recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups total, but I think 2 cups would suffice.
  3. Prep the casserole ahead of time. If you’re planning to make this for Thanksgiving, feel free to make the shallots and base the day before and stash it in the fridge. Then, all you have to do is bake and top it with the remaining shallots.
  4. Save the shallot oil. The oil used to fry the shallots is very flavorful and great for using in salad dressings. Stash it in an airtight container and use it anytime you want a pop of onion-y flavor.

Rating: 6/10

Have you ever made Serious Eats’ ultimate homemade green bean casserole? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk | Design: The Kitchn