Green Bean Casserole with a Twist

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This year for Thanksgiving, when it came time to sign up for a dish to bring, I was quick to volunteer for the easiest of them all - the classic Green Bean Casserole.

There is probably no other traditional Thanksgiving side that is more simple than this. I sort of felt bad about picking the least complicated thing on the list, so I also signed up to bring rolls and I was thinking about whipping up some spiked apple cider for everyone to enjoy as well. But regardless, I will probably be the only one not slaving in the kitchen this year.

If you've never made Green Bean Casserole, there's really not that much to it. It's literally beans, soup, and a big can of french fried onions. Throw 'em together and you've got yourself a casserole.

But as I was putting together my grocery list for the week, I began to wonder if there were other recipes out there for the classic casserole that were also simple but put a little spin on tradition. So, I hopped on Pinterest (where else would I go?) and found dozens of delicious recipes that each added a little something different. I decided that I'm probably going to go with this version from Brown Eyed Baker for our Thanksgiving feast, but there were so many others that I wanted to try, I thought I would pick one to share here to make later on during the holidays.

This recipe by Justin Chapple comes from Food & Wine and brings a spicy little kick to the classic recipe. I can't wait to try it!


Green Bean Casserole with Goat Cheese, Almonds, & Smoked Paprika

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 1/2 pounds of green beans
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
3 cups of milk
1 garlic clove, finely grated
5 ounces of fresh goat cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon of pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
3/4 cup of almonds, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a shallow 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish. In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the green beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Pat dry and thinly slice on the diagonal. Pat dry again.

In a medium saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, whisking constantly, until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the goat cheese. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the pimentón.

In a large bowl, toss the green beans with the sauce. Spread the mixture into the prepared casserole and sprinkle the almonds and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pimentón over the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbling and the almonds are lightly browned. Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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