The mere mention of the words "Green Bean Casserole" is likely enough to prompt what is surely the most extensive flood of culinary jokes and haughty smirks attributable to a single dish.
I have a confession to make, though. I grew up with green bean casserole. I don't mean the fabulous, entirely from scratch, gourmet versions that have gradually - thankfully - emerged on the culinary scene, I mean the kind of casserole consisting entirely of canned condensed cream of mushroom soup, frozen "French cut" green beans, and French's fried onions.
Ready for my next confession? (You may have already guessed this fact, given my predilection for waxing poetic on the subject of casseroles.) As a child, I loved my family's green bean casserole. It was smooth textured, soothing to a small child, and always reminded me of Thanksgiving, which was synonymous with happiness in my youthful mind.
Nowadays, I usually fix roasted green beans with garlic and toasted sesame oil for Thanksgiving. But Zach grew up with green bean casserole too, and there is something very powerful about food nostalgia. One night last week, with an abundant bowl-full of the season's first fresh green beans upon our counter, I started to envision crisp, stir-fried green beans, light, healthful, and unencumbered, but with just a hint of the velvety, proverbial casseroles of my childhood...
because a homemade dinner any night is cause for Thanksgiving...
Green Beans with Creamed Spring Onions
2 tablespoons butter or light vegan margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup 1% milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 spring onions, white and green parts included, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound green beans , trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
1/4 cup vegetable broth
~ In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter or vegan marg, then stir in the flour and continue stirring quickly just until the flour browns.
~ Pour in the 1/2 cup vegetable broth and simmer briefly, until the mixture thickens.
~ Add the milk, stir to combine, and remove the saucepan from the heat, setting it aside to rest.
~ In a large wok over high heat, stir-fry the spring onions and garlic in the olive oil over high heat until the onions are golden brown and starting to crisp.
~ Toss in the green beans and continue to stir-fry, stirring often, until the green beans are crisp tender.
~ At this point, the spring onions will have continued to brown, and will begin to stick to the bottom of the wok. Quickly pour in the 1/4 cup vegetable broth and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while the broth simmers, then remove the pan from the heat.
~ Immediately stir in the white sauce mixture, and serve warm...
On a side note, my triumph of the moment is having learned how to sew curtains... :-)