Cooking On A Budget: Fresh Green Bean Casserole

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Fresh Green Bean Casserole


The dish that so many make for the holidays the "Green Bean Casserole" needs something new. Instead of relying on a canned cream soup I'll make a roux and combine some chicken broth and heavy cream. Caramelized onions throughout and some spices and a topping of crushed Ritz for added texture ought to bring this dish up a notch. You can use any buttery type cracker you have.
Since there is only two of us, I am using 12 ounces of green beans. When the beans are cut in half the yield could actually feed 4 people a good sized portion. Having left overs and that's fine with us.
For a larger family - just double the amount of beans and go 1/3 more for the sauce ingredients and onion. Also, if you are really budget tight, use half and half or whole milk in place of the heavy cream. You may need to use less milk  - see how the consistency is. Also use frozen beans if fresh is not in your budget - check the difference in price.
  • 12 - 16 ounces fresh green beans - cut in half
  • 1/2 large sweet onion - medium dice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 - 1 cup chicken broth - warmed
  • 4 tbsp. butter (for the roux)
  • 4 tbsp. flour (all purpose)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup Ritz crackers crumbled for topping - optional
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter or olive oil (for the onions)
  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, add the green beans and blanch them for about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium low heat melt some butter and olive oil and saute the onion until caramelized.
  3. In a small sauce pot warm the chicken broth over medium heat - or warm in the microwave. Set aside.
  4. Over medium heat melt the 4 tbsp. butter in the same skillet with the caramelized onions and when that is melted, sprinkle in all of the flour and keep stirring. Cook over medium low heat for about 2 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.
  5. Slowly pour in the warmed chicken stock, whisking as you go to create a sauce.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream. To this add some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  7. In a casserole dish combine the beans, the caramelized onions and the sauce. Top with some crushed Ritz Crackers.
  8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven  (covered) for about 45 minutes to an hour until the beans are tender and the sauce is bubbly. Remove the cover and bake for just a couple of more minutes to brown the Ritz.

Green Beans – 12 oz.
$ 2.50
½ Sweet Onion
$   .75
Heavy Cream ½ cup
$ 1.50
Butter, oil, spices, flour
$   .47
Chicken Broth
$   .75
Total cost for Side Dish for 4 people
$ 5.97
Per person cost for 4 people
$ 2.42

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