This recipe is an adaption of chef Joaquin Baca's (The Brooklyn Star), published in the November 3, 2009 edition of The New York Times. It can be adapted to make a smaller dish by halving the amounts.
Green Bean Casserole
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
2 small red onions, chopped
1 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (can substitute with dried, using a lesser amount)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
¼ cup sliced toasted almonds
½ cup fine dry bread crumbs
½ cup vegetable oil
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
6 pearl onions, thinly sliced (can substitute using fresh or dried medium to large yellow or white onions)
1. In a food processor, combine half of the mushrooms and onions (red and pearl). Purée to form a paste, and set aside. In a large, wide saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add remaining mushrooms. Stir, increase heat to high, and sauté until mushrooms release their liquid, then become golden and begin to crisp around edges.
2. Add garlic and thyme, and stir for about 30 seconds. Add mushroom-onion paste and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring constantly, 10 to 15 minutes. Add cream and stock, and season with salt and pepper to taste. At this point mushroom mixture may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and set aside a large bowl of ice water. Add beans to boiling water and cook until bright green and barely tender, about 1 minute. Drain and immediately plunge into ice water. Drain well.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine green beans, mushroom mixture, almonds and ¼ cup breadcrumbs. Transfer to a baking dish 9 by 12 inches by 2 inches high, patting down to compact and level mixture. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, until beans are tender and top is lightly browned, about 35 minutes.
5. To garnish, place oil in a small skillet and heat until it simmers. Place flour in a mixing bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add sliced pearl onions, toss to coat and fry until golden, 30 to 45 seconds. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle on casserole.