This Green Bean Casserole is the best ever! No cream-of soups or canned onions. Just fresh green beans in a creamy sauce with crispy bacon and onion straws.
Normally I am not a huge fan of green bean casserole… especially when it is made with canned beans, cream of mushroom soup, and those canned crispy onions. However, add onion straws and bacon and I am instantly a fan. If you MUST cut corners on this recipe and make substitutions… by all means, go for it. I understand Thanksgiving can be crazy making a million different things and green beans are probably the least of your worries. I won’t be offended if you substitute those fake, crispy onion things… it just won’t taste as quite as good.
Also, feel free to make additions.. I would normally add sauteed mushrooms to the sauce but my husband hates mushrooms so I left them out of this recipe. This is a versatile dish and you can really make it to your liking. Also, if you are worried about presentation and want your dish to look like the picture above… just combine the beans and sauce, put them on an oven-safe ceramic platter, and then top with the bacon and onion straws. If you aren’t too concerned about presentation, just do it all in a glass baking dish. I assure you that is what I will be doing on Thanksgiving! Also, for the picture, I made the gravy slightly thinner and didn’t add cheese so you could really see the vibrant color of the green beans. Normally I wouldn’t do that but for pictures sake, I wanted it to look pretty.
- Separate onions and place them in a large Ziploc bag. Pour buttermilk over the onions, squeeze the air out of the bag, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- In a pie pan or shallow dish, combine flour, salt, cayenne, paprika, and pepper.
- Heat oil in a skillet or deep pan to 375-degrees. Using tongs, dredge the onion rings a few at a time and place in hot oil for 2-3 minutes or until onions become nice and golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (as if you were boiling pasta). Add beans and boil for about 5-6 minutes or until beans become crisp tender (boiling time depends on how crisp or soft you like your beans.. check them before removing). Drain and place in ice water to prevent further cooking. Drain and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and cook bacon completely. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and drain all but about 2 Tbsp. of the bacon grease from the skillet (or you can drain it all and just use 2 Tbsp of butter). Sprinkle flour over remaining bacon grease (or butter) and stir, forming a roux. Whisk in chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Whisk in half-and-half a little at a time until sauce thickens. You want it to be a gravy-like consistency. Add a little milk if needed to thin the sauce. Heat for about 5 minutes or until sauce barely starts to simmer. Add pepper, to taste.
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a casserole or oven-safe dish, combine beans, sauce, cheese (optional) and half of the bacon. Sprinkle onion straws and remaining bacon over the top and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.