If you like mushrooms and green beans, you will love this recipe.
It's from The Complete America's Test Kitchen (ATK) TV Show Cookbook (2001-2014). ATK has always been one of my favorite shows because they explore and try so many different ingredients, explain the pros and cons and share substitute ingredients.
I love pretty much all the cooking shows on PBS. I didn't grow up with cable so I didn't have much choice LOL However, watching these shows has taught me a lot and you'll learn one of the tricks I learned from another show later in this blog post.
I explain exactly what I did below and what I would do to help improve or make the recipe easier, so be sure to read the steps below accompanied with photos.
First of all, this recipe takes a very very long time. At least 3 hours. I was watching Avatar, my favorite movie, and the movie ended before I even placed the casserole in the oven! But, now that I think about it... I was washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen before I started cooking.....
You can save on time by buying mushrooms that are pre-cut into 1/4" thickness. However, since the recipe calls for fresh green beans, you'll have to cut off the ends and chop them into 2" pieces manually. They say that fresh green beans have better texture.
It was such a pain finding all the mushrooms! We're experiencing a polar vortex so it's -40 degrees outside. Crazy. And we were running around town trying to find these damn mushrooms. SMH. Again, crazy.
I ended up buying just regular white mushrooms found at all major groceries stores. Honestly, I'm not really sure if there's a difference between those and "white button" mushrooms.
I also purchased small pre-cut baby portabella mushrooms instead of cremini mushrooms because they were all out.
I could not find dried porcini mushrooms anywhere so I purchased shiitake mushrooms instead. As a result, I skipped the porcini mushroom step.
LET'S GET STARTED
If you have the book it's on page 133, otherwise find the recipe online here: RECIPE.
 Gather Topping
The first thing I did was pre-heated the oven and prepped my topping. I set my 4 slices of bread, butter, fried onions (one 6 oz jar = 3 cups), salt and pepper to the side.
 Prep Green Beans
Next, I cleaned, cut off/tore off the ends of my green beans and chopped them into 2"-1.5" pieces.
Okay, here's where things became over-complicated. The recipe has you fill a pot with 4 quarts of water = 16 cups. Honestly, just get a large pot and fill it half way. Just make sure you salt enough so the green beans gain some flavor.
I followed this recipe closely and feel that I should have added at least one more table spoon of salt. The green beans lose some flavor from soaking in cold water later.
Also, if you put the green beans in the water immediately it will take longer than the recipe states. I missed the "bring to a boil" part LOL
While this was heating up, I prepped some cold water and ice for later.
[ 3 ] Prep Other Ingredients
While the beans boiled, I minced my onions, garlic, and thyme. My baby portabellas were already chopped so I only had to clean and cut my white mushrooms. That took a while. I skipped the porcini step here. Instead, I chopped half an ounce of shiitake mushrooms into small pieces.
I purchased basil leaves for some reason... I swear it was on the list of ingredients! LOL it's pictured below... I shall save it for adobo...
[ 4 ] Start Cooking the Mushroom Cream
In this skillet, I melted my butter and added the garlic, onions, thyme, and mushrooms (including the shiitake).
Eventually the onions caramelized and the mushrooms browned.
Moisture will start to come out of the mushrooms and look like the picture below. Once the liquid reduces, you'll have to add the flour. I didn't have any unbleached flour so I just used bleached all-purpose flour.
[ 5 ] Give Green Beans an Ice Bath
While the mushrooms simmered, I checked on the green beans and they were nice and soft but still crunchy. I strained and soaked them in the cold water+ice I prepped earlier.
[ 6 ] Back to the Mushrooms + Pheasant Broth
Let the green beans bathe until your ready to bake. You'll notice that the flour thickened the mushroom sauce. Now would be the time to add the heavy cream. The recipe asks for 2 cups - just buy the small 1 pint containers to reduce time on measuring.
Don't forget to salt and pepper here. Don't be too scared because the flavor will be absorbed by the beans and you kind of lose some flavor later because the green beans don't retain much of the salt after soaking in the cold bath.
You also have to add chicken broth. Instead of chicken broth I used pheasant broth.
For those of you who don't know what a pheasant is, it's a bird that you can hunt in Wisconsin. It's kind of like a cross between a turkey and a chicken. Since they live in the grasslands of Wisconsin, they do taste different from farm raised chicken.
There are many different ways to cook pheasant, but we Asian love a classic boiled pheasant/chicken, salt, pepper and some lemon grass.
We don't hunt for pheasants often so we may only get to eat them once or twice a year.
Here's the tip I mentioned earlier: I was watching the Barefoot Contessa and she said that when you boil chicken and don't use all the broth, you can save it and use it for soup or whatever later. She liked to put them in ice cube makers then bag in a larger container. How genius! So that's what I did for the left over pheasant broth... except I was too lazy to make them into ice cubes.
Below is a photo of my pheasant broth I used. I had set it aside to melt earlier.
[ 7 ] Prep Topping
While the mushrooms and heavy cream simmered, I went back to the topping. I cut my bread into smaller pieces and threw them inside a food processor. I pulsed until the bread turned into some nice crumbs. Then I added salt. Pulsed a little more, then I added the butter. You DO NOT process the onions. They just mix with the bread crumbs. So, technically, I never needed to take them out of the can. At least not until the bread was ready. Anyways, I mixed and set aside.
[ 8 ] Back to Green Beans
With the topping ready and the mushroom cream thickening really well, I prepped the green beans to bake. Since I don't have a baking rack, I placed my green beans on a cookie sheet with towels to soak the water.
Once the mushroom cream is thick and ready, I placed and evenly spread my green beans in an aluminum pan. That's all I had LOL
[ 9 ] Green Beans, Meet Mushroom Cream
Immediately afterwards, I added the mushrooms on top making sure there was an even amount to cover all the beans.
[ 10 ] Finally the Topping
Next I added the bread and fried onion topping. There's definitely more than enough to cover the entire pan. The oven was already ready to go so immediately after I popped it right in.
[ THE END ]
Here's what the topping looked like after baking. I would like to have gone back and broiled it for a few minutes to get a crunchier topping. Either way it is still really, really good! The mushroom cream is my favorite part! It's soooo good.
Addison really enjoyed this dish. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts!