Green Bean Casserole is a must-have at any holiday meal, and this scaled down version makes the perfect amount for a hungry couple. Made from scratch, just like the original recipe; every forkful is so good you might wish you had more.
Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add butter and melt until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until the mushrooms have released most of their liquid, about 5 minutes.
Stir in flour and cook for one minute. Whisk in broth, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
Reduce heat to medium. Whisk in cream and simmer until the sauce has thickened and reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the beans in the microwave according to the package instructions (or microwave on HIGH power for 4 to 5 minutes; let stand 1 minute before removing from the microwave). Transfer to a colander and drain well.
Add the green beans to the pot with the mushroom sauce and toss until evenly coated. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with topping.
Bake until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling around the edges, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Frozen green beans: To substitute fresh beans, trim and chop 8 ounces of green beans. Blanch the beans in 2 quarts of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes, then drain well and plunge immediately in to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
Fried onions: To substitute bread crumbs for the canned fried onions, pulse 1 slice hearty white bread (torn into pieces) in a food processor or blender. You will have about 3/4 cups of crumbs. Stir in 1 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil and fry in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned. Sprinkle over the casserole just before serving.
Yield: This recipe makes enough for 2 generous servings.
Baking dish: Use something small and oven-friendly that will hold the beans and sauce: a small cast-iron skillet, a shallow gratin dish, or a small ceramic baker.
Make the beans and sauce ahead: The beans may be cooked in advance, cooled, and stirred into the cooled mushroom sauce. Transfer to the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance. Heat the casserole for 10 minutes in a 425-degree oven before adding the topping, then bake as directed.
Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Slow cooker green bean casserole: Follow the recipe through Step 6, but instead of using a baking dish, transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 to 2 hours or LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Top with fried onions immediately before serving.