Monday Meal Makeover: Green Bean Cassarole

At every potluck dinner, it seems someone shows up with a green bean casserole. The traditional preparation with a canned cream of mushroom soup and canned fried onions can be gloppy and greasy, but this recreation uses homemade cream sauce, fresh green beans, mushrooms and fried shallots.

What you need:

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut in into bite-size pieces

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

Kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Hot sauce, like Tabasco

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

6 large shallots, thinly sliced

2 to 4 cups canola oil


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the green beans until tender, about five minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about four minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until most of their liquid has evaporated, about eight minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in three tablespoons flour. Cook until golden brown, about four minutes.

Add the milk, slowly at first, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the milk has incorporated. Continue stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened, making sure to scrape all over the bottom of the pan. Stir in two teaspoons salt, the pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Pour the mushroom mixture over beans and toss to combine. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Pour bean mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden, about 10 minutes.

While the casserole is baking, heat about 1 inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Toss shallots in two tablespoons flour. Fry the shallots until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Top the casserole with fried shallots.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Katie Lee Joel, author of "The Comfort Table," serves on the judges' panel of Food Network's "Iron Chef America." She can also be seen on the TV show "Extra" where she regularly appears as a special correspondent covering food and fashion. Joel lives in the New York area with her husband, musician Billy Joel.