Acutally, I was watching Ree Drummond's new show on Food Network. In this particular episode, she shared her favorite pot luck recipes. Her green bean casserole had both Ty and I sold: Immediate recipe replication was definitely in order.
One of the few changes I made to Ree's recipe was to blanche the green beans for a longer amount of time than she did, simply because we like them softer, as opposed to super-crisp. Her original recipe calls for a jar of pimentos, but we used a fresh red bell pepper instead, as she calls for in her updated Food Network version. I substituted light cream for half-and-half, added a bit more cayenne, and finally, sprinkled some grated parmesan cheese on top with the panko, just because, well ... it's more cheese! Other than that, it was pretty much amazingly perfect just the way it was written.
The recipe makes a huge batch, so we have leftovers galore. I foresee a week of green bean casserole on the side of each night's menu! And I'm totally good with it.
Green Bean Casserole
(adapted from ThePioneerWoman)
2 pounds fresh green beans, anapped with ends cut off
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare green beans by snapping or cutting them in half and cutting off the ends.
Blanch the green beans: drop them into lightly salted boiling water and allow green beans to cook for about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately shock the beans by plunging them into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain beans once they're cool and set aside.
Add bacon pieces to a skillet and cook over medium heat for two minutes. Add diced onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bacon is done (but not crisp) and onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk immediately to evenly mix it into the butter. Cook for a minute or two, then pour in milk and cream.
Continue cooking, whisking constantly, while sauce thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne, then add the grated cheddar. Stir while cheese melts. Turn off heat.
Add the bacon/onion mixture. Stir to combine. Pour over green beans and stir gently to combine.
Pour into a baking dish and top with panko crumbs and parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and panko crumbs are golden.