Sometimes, I just like something so much I have to mix it up a bit. That is the case with one of my Thanksgiving standbys, Green Bean Casserole. We all know the traditional dish much advertised by Campbells and plunked on holiday tables across the country. And the stuff is good. Ish. So why only eat it once a year?
That’s my logic. So I developed a variation using asparagus. : )
If you’ve read me at all, you know my aversion to anything canned (unless it is home canned) and so, Campbells be damned, I refuse to dump their gelatinous mix of creamed whatever into anything I make … except in Mama’s cornbread dressing. I don’t dare mess with that recipe. So I developed my own cream of mushroom soup, and I use in this recipe as well as the one with the beans of green. With both, only fresh veggies will do.
The other place I allow my adherence to all things fresh to lapse is in the area of French Fried onion topping. I’ve tried to make my own and have come up with some delicious variations of onion toppings, but nothing that even compares with the flavor and texture. And really, since the whole reason I hate canned things is because they don’t taste good, I’m not gonna fight with the onions … because they taste good.
For the soup:
- 5-10 (depending on size) thinly sliced mushrooms … your choice of type
- 1/2 cup minced onions
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt … i don’t measure. Maybe a couple pinches
- black pepper … same deal.
- Fresh thyme … just toss some in there
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1-1/2 cups half and half
- 1/2 cup good white wine
Saute the onions in the butter until they are translucent, then add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook and occasionally give the mix a stir until the mushrooms are cooked through. Add the flour and stir until incorporated and you have a nice paste. Add the half and half, taste for seasons and add whatever you need (if you need anything.) Stir until thick and bubbly. Add the white wine and stir until well incorporated. Remove from heat and try not to eat. You still have to use it in your casserole.
For the casserole:
- 2 cups fresh asparagus, cut into 2″ length. (I use the thinnest asparagus I can find)
- 2 cups cream of mushroom soup (Or one can of the icky stuff, if you insist.)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar (I personally don’t use the full 2 cups. I just sprinkle some on.)
- 1 can French Fried Onions (They make these in a carmelized version now. Highly recommend.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a deep 8×8 casserole dish. Put a neat layer of half the asparagus on the bottom, and then ladel over half the soup. Sprinkle on half the cheese (or just a sprinkle, if you’re me.) Lay down a second layer of the asparagus, The rest of the soup, and another sprinkle of the cheese.
Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes or so … until it is bubbly, then pull it out. Top with the onions. Go ahead and top the whole thing. Don’t just make a ring around the edges like on the commercials. Crunchy yum up the whole top of the thing, and then pop it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes … just until the onions begin to brown and smell fabulous.