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Gourmet Green Bean Casserole

Fried onions:
1½ cup milk
1 large egg
2 medium onions thinly sliced, and roughly chopped
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. kosher salt
Oil for frying

1½ lbs. green beans, fresh, trimmed, and cut in half
8 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water

2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
16 oz. mushrooms, fresh, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups stock (from the stock used to cook the beans)
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. The Spice Hunter Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. The Spice Hunter Organic Whole Nutmeg

For fried onions: (can be done up to 1 day in advance)
1. In a deep fryer or skillet, heat oil to 360°F.

2. In a medium bowl, add the egg to the milk and gently mix.

3. In a separate dish, mix the flour with the bread crumbs and salt.

4. Drop the onions in the milk/egg mixture, then dredge in flour. Repeat.

5. Fry the onions until golden, about 4 minutes per batch.

6. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little more salt.

For beans:
1. Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil over high heat.

2. Add the beans, and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Using a slotted spoon (or spider), remove the beans from the liquid and place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. (If you used stock, save 2 cups for making the sauce.)

For sauce:
1. Melt the butter in a large oven-proof skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat.

2. Add the mushrooms. Cook them, stirring often, until mushrooms start to release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper.

3. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 minute.

4. Add the flour and stir to coat the mushrooms. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add 2 cups of stock, cream, and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. (This is where you add 2 cups of the reserved stock if you simmered the beans in it. If you didn't simmer the beans in stock, add 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock.)

6. Using a micro-plane or the fine-grates on a box-grater, grate about 1 tsp. of the whole nutmeg into the mixture. Add salt (1 tsp.) and pepper (½ tsp.). Stir until fully combined.

7. Cook until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes.

8. Remove from the heat.

For casserole:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Stir in about ⅓ of the fried onions and all of the green beans. Mix until well combined.
3. If not using a cast iron skillet, transfer the mixture to a baking dish.

4. Place in oven for 20 minutes.

5. Add remaining onions to the top of casserole in the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking.

6. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Recipe notes:
1. For firmer green beans, only simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes. For soft beans, simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Sample a bean to make sure the texture is to your liking.
2. Simmering the beans in chicken or vegetable stock is delicious, but not 100% necessary. You can simmer the beans in water, no problem. If you simmer in stock, be sure to reserve 2 cups for making the sauce. The beans will absorb some of the 8 cups used for simmering, but you'll still have some left over for another use.
3. The fried onions can be made up to a day in advance. Store in an air-tight container. They will also be fine if left out in a bowl on the counter. (Just be careful, folks like to munch on them, if they see them sitting out!)
4. The entire casserole can be made 4 to 6 hours prior to baking. Just don't stir in the ⅓ of the onions until right before baking. If you do prepare the dish ahead of time, we recommend waiting to add the onions for the topping until after the baking is finished. Remove the heated casserole from the oven, and then give it a good stir. Do this because the sauce may have settled while resting. Then top with remaining fried onions.

Recipe via partner How to Feed a Loon