Oh sure, I’ve made a traditional casserole before. There’s a reason that recipe has been around for ages. It’s a classic with great flavor. This green bean casserole is something different. Something amazing. Crispy green beans, sure. A creamy cheese sauce, you bet. Red bell peppers, bacon, onion and panko? Fantastic.
This is soon to become a staple in our household. I was able to grab last-of-the-season fresh beans when I made this green bean casserole. With the season now gone I’ll have to make this using frozen (but not canned!) beans. If you use frozen, defrost them using the package instructions and skip steps #2-#6 below for blanching the fresh beans. That’s it!
Also try my Swiss vegetable medley.
Green Bean Casserole
- 2 pounds green beans fresh, ends cut off, cut in halves
- 4 slices bacon cut into 1/4″ pieces
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large red bell pepper diced
- 1/2 large sweet onion chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk plus more, if needed
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup extra sharp Cheddar finely shredded
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs regular breadcrumbs also work well
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and add enough water to just cover the ice.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the beans. Return to a boil and boil for 4 minutes.
- Drain the beans and add to the ice water bath.
- After the beans have cooled completely, drain well.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, pepper and onion and cook until the bacon starts to crisp but isn’t done. Stir often to keep the garlic from burning.
- Remove from heat.
- In another large skillet (it has to be big enough to hold the beans and the cooked bacon mix) melt the butter over medium heat.
- Whisk in the flour and stir constantly for 4 minutes.
- Whisk in the milk and half-and-half and continue stirring until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the black pepper and the cayenne pepper. Stir.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until melted.
- Add in the cooked beans and the bacon mixture. Stir well.
- Pour mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Spread out evenly.
- Sprinkle top with the breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
- Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Nutritional values are approximate.