For someone who thinks America’s Test Kitchen is too fussy, why am I posting two recipes from them in one week? Well, I have to admit those people do good work. I ripped a page on “Skillet Green Beans” out of a Cook’s Magazine I found in the lunchroom at work, and when I saw this updated take on what we Minnesotans call “green bean hot dish,” I had to try it. So I made a half-recipe on Monday night, as a side dish for Chicken Scaloppine With Parmesan. Verdict: I wouldn’t call it “quick,” exactly; it’s quicker than baking a casserole, I guess, but not something I see myself whipping up at the drop of a hat after a long day. It’s not difficult to make—the fact that it uses only one skillet is nice—but complicated enough that I found it challenging to make it while also trying to do a main dish (even one of my simpler chicken dish). The recipe just requires a little too much constant attention—there are no “let simmer for 30 minutes” steps where you can walk away and do something else. In the future, maybe I’d try some sort of baked chicken for the entrée, so it can cook while I devote my full concentration to the green beans. Because I would definitely make this again—it tastes great! Surprisingly like the real thing, and yet way better than the canned soup, canned green beans, and weird canned french-fried onions. I don’t think I got my shallots fried crisply enough (I suspect I got impatient and started before the oil was fully hot), but still? Very yummy, and it did pair nicely with the chicken. I was also thinking it might be possible to serve this over noodles as a main dish, if you had maybe just a little more sauce. Hmm, I’ll experiment and get back to you.
Postscript, December 2009: Meh, not worth it. I never made it again.
3 large shallots, sliced thin (about 1 cup)
Salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 ounces cremini (brown) mushrooms, stems discarded, caps wiped clean and sliced ¼ inch thick
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1½ pounds green beans, stem ends trimmed
3 sprigs fresh thyme (the recipe wants you to use whole sprigs and remove them later, but I just used the leaves and left them in)
2 bay leaves
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1. Toss shallots with ¼ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 2 tablespoons flour in small bowl; set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until smoking; add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer shallots with oil to baking sheet lined with triple layer of paper towels.
2. Wipe out skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, mushrooms, and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate and set aside.
3. Wipe out skillet. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat; when foaming subsides, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and remaining tablespoon of flour, then toss in green beans, thyme, and bay leaves. Add cream and chicken broth, increase heat to medium-high, cover, and cook until beans are partly tender but still crisp at center, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook, uncovered, until green beans are tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes. Off heat, discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs (as I said, I didn’t use the whole sprigs, just the leaves, which I left in, because I like thyme). Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle evenly with shallots, and serve.
Serves: 8 as a side dish
Time: 30 minutes