Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My French Bean Casserole

I know it is still too early for Thanksgiving, but I could not resist making some french bean casserole for dinner last night. Delicious and reviving, the caramelized onions infuses sweet flavor to the otherwise bland french beans. The melted cheese and the flavorful white sauce synchronize well in this dish. For a variation tonight, try this scrumptious meal, it will have you begging for more.

I must say that the effort for putting this all together was demanding as I paid a lot of attention to detail. But the end result paid off and hence it was worth making and serving. My husband loved it and I am sure your family will too. Make your own home based white sauce and infuse garlic or herbs to intensify flavor,  this will indeed make a tastier bean casserole.

Perfect for a weeknight, with some effort, it can be well planned and put together before hand and served with some warm toasted bread.

Here is the recipe for my tried and tested french bean casserole.

1 large white onion sliced
1 lb french beans trimmed and blanched
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup Gruyere cheese

For the white sauce :
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp corn flour
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup cold milk
Cayenne to taste
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fresh chopped parsely
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil water with a pinch of salt and blanch the green beans in the boiling water for about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and keep aside. This is to dismiss the raw taste from the beans and have them par boiled.

Melt some butter in a pan and saute the onions with a pinch of salt till brown and caramelized. Keep aside.

On medium heat, melt the butter for the white sauce and slowly add the all purpose flour and corn flour and whisk to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper. Add some nutmeg and cayenne pepper and continue to whisk. Pour the cold milk very slowly while whisking. Lower the heat and add the herbs and simmer till the sauce thickens. Switch off and set aside.

Melt some butter and add the Panko bread crumbs to melted butter, mix well. Keep aside.

Preheat your oven to 375F and grease a casserole dish with butter or cooking spray. 

To assemble the dish:

First divide the caramelized onions and spread one half as the bottom layer of the dish.

Add the green beans and evenly distribute. Season the beans with salt and pepper.

Pour the white sauce and spread evenly to coat.

Sprinkle some cheese and the remaining caramelized onions.

Top with the Panko bread crumbs mixture.

Add another layer of cheese and bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes until the top is crisp and golden brown.

Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with toasted bread.

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