Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Different Green Bean Casserole

  I was catching up on a few of my favorite blogs this morning and came across some good recipes. Today's Green Bean Casserole is one of them. I am already a fan of the traditional one, but was getting a little bored with it after all these years. The Pioneer Woman solved that dilemma. Her updated version is spot on in the flavor department and I love the difference the Panko bread crumb topping makes. Even my local Wal-Mart carries Panko bread crumbs now. Yay! Now if you couldn't possibly imagine the casserole with any other topping than the crispy onion rings, then go for it. No big deal. This recipe and photo is courtesy of thepioneerwomancooks.com. You can go there today and scroll down and see a step by step guide to preparing this and get a printable form of the recipe. *One day I'm going to figure out how to make printable versions myself. * Here's the recipe: 2 lbs. Fresh Green Beans (ends cut off). 4 slices Bacon (cut into 1/4 inch pieces), 3 Garlic Cloves (minced), 1/2 Large Onion (chopped), 4 T. Butter, 4 T. All-Purpose Flour, 2 1/2 Cups Milk, 1/2 Cup Half-and-Half, 1 1/2 t. Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper (to taste), 1/8 t. Cayenne Pepper, 1 Cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 1 (4 ounce) jar Sliced Pimentoes (drained), Extra Milk for thinning if Necessary, and 1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs. Begin by cutting green beans in half. Blanch the green beans by dropping them into lightly salted boiling water and allow them to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain beans once they're cool and set aside. Next, add bacon pieces to a skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon for two minutes, then add diced onion and garlic and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bacon is done (but not crisp) and onions are golden brown . Remove from heat and set aside. Next, In a separate skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk immediately to evenly mix it into the butter. Cook for a minute or two, then pour in milk and half-and-half. Continue cooking, whisking constantly while sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne then add the grated cheddar. Stir while cheese melts. Turn off heat. Finally, add pimentos to pan, then add bacon/onion mixture. Stir to combine. Pour over green beans and stir gently to combine. Pour into baking dish and top with panko crumbs. Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and panko crumbs are golden. This should serve approximately 8 people. Enjoy!

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