Last year I wrote a series of recipes I called "Thanksgiving Basics" in case you're far from home or hosting Thanksgiving for the first time and just want to keep it classic and simple. You can find them all here. This year I'll be doing things a little more travel inspired for our second annual big expat Thanksgiving (we'll be hosting around 25) but definitely keeping some of the classics in the mix.
Our 2nd stop: Seoul! One of my favorite things about living in South Korea is that oyster mushrooms are the cheap mushroom. Seriously, at my local grocery store they're $1-$2 a pound depending on whether it's a sale week or not, so yeah, let's fancy-up this casserole.
Our T-Day Inspiration: Green Bean Casserole
Confession: I'm not responsible for the green bean casserole at my own Thanksgiving, this one is just for me to eat all on my own while my husband is in California eating tacos and buying six packs of craft beer for the price of a single bottle in Seoul. Like candied yams with marshmallows, traditional green bean casserole wasn't really part of my Thanksgiving growing up (though we did often have variations or green bean salads) but I made it from scratch for the first time a couple of years ago and realized that just blanched green beans covered in mushroom cream and fried onions is preeeetty much my jam. I like to add lemon zest to brighten it up but you can leave it out if the oyster mushrooms are already breaking with tradition enough for you. Also, I beer battered my onion strings, because why not?
- 1 cup AP Flour
- 3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Bottle of Beer (I used Cass Beats to keep with the Korea theme)
- 1 egg
- 3 medium yellow onions
- 1.5 pounds Green Beans (trimmed and halved)
- 12 ounces Oyster Mushrooms (chopped)
- 4 tablespoons Butter
- 4 tablespoons AP Flour
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 2/3 cups Heavy Cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- optional: Zest of 1/2 a Lemon
For the Strings:
- Halve onions and slice as thinly as possible, I recommend using a mandolin. Set aside.
- Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and beer. Pour one third the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together thoroughly. Repeat with the remaining two thirds wet ingredients.
- In a heavy bottom pot or skillet (I like using my dutch oven), heat an inch of oil to 370 F.
- Dip onion strings in the batter and then carefully put into the hot oil. Fry until light golden brown and then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. (The onions will get darker when baked so err on the side of underdone)
- Repeat until out of onions. Realize you have a ton of crispy onion strings, eat a few (or a lot).
For the Casserole:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch green beans for 3-4 minutes and drain.
- Put your mushroom and butter in a medium skillet over low to medium heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their liquids. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Add in one third the broth and stir just until it begins to thicken. Repeat two more times. Cook until it's thick enough to coat a spoon. Give it a taste and add more salt and pepper as necessary. Stir in the cream and lemon zest and cook until it thickens back up, stirring constantly. Taste again and adjust seasoning.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the green beans until they're evenly coated. Pour the green beans into a 2 quart casserole dish and cover generously with the onion strings.
- Bake for fifteen minutes until the sauce begins to bubble and the onion strings are medium golden brown. Enjoy as soon as it's cool to eat.
Pro tip: Instead of using a medium skillet, you could do the whole thing in a dutch oven... I only have one and it was still full of hot fry oil so I ended up dirtying more pans.