November 24, 2021. The Thanksgiving menu can get rather predictable- not that that’s a bad thing- but, I like to mix it up a bit most years, much to the dismay of your Mom, who much prefers a Norman Rockwellian vibe to the festivities. This year may be my crowning glory when it comes to waking up the Thanksgiving menu, as I unveil a recipe a year in the making- “Green Bean Casserole on a Stick”. SPOILER ALERT, the sticks are edible- green beans wrapped in onion strings and fried in a tempura batter into crispy goodness and served with a cool and creamy mushroom dip on the side.
Granny would grace my childhood T-Day Table with the classic green bean casserole, a combination of canned or frozen green beans mixed with canned cream of mushroom soup and topped off with canned French fried onions. I would often attempt to avoid this concoction, if at all possible; although your Gramps’ implied and actual threats often made that impossible. Nevertheless, the recipe was and continues to be popular since 1955 when it was developed by Dorcas Reilly of the Campbell Soup Company to help the soup giant sell more condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup. According to Campbells, it was served in over 20 millions households in 2018 (coincidentally the year Dorcas passed away at 92- apparently all those green beans make for a long life!) and an estimated 40% of the Cream of Mushroom Soup it sells goes into making this iconic casserole. Still, I’ve never made the traditional version for our T-Day Table, although I did make an upscale version, topping crisply sautéed garlicky green beans with a homemade mushroom cream sauce and freshly fried onion strings one year for T-Day at your Auntie N’s. I will admit, it was tasty, but nowhere near as good or fun as the Green Bean Casserole on a Stick I present to you today.
Green Bean Casserole on a Stick is a whimsical, should I say revolutionary, and likely never seen before, hand held, 2 bite start to a feast that’s sure to impress and amuse your guests and leave them wanting more. It’s the type of starter that could cause a fight to break out when it comes down to the last one on the plate and, if you’re going to fight on a family holiday, it might as well be over something worthwhile:). This flavor packed morsel has all the welcomed tastes of the original recipe, with fresh green beans standing in for canned or frozen beans, fried to ordered onion strings taking over for the canned fried onions and an upgrade for the canned and congealed soup to an easy and bright sour cream based mushroom and onion dip. I will admit that there is some work to this recipe, but it’s such a once a year, show stopper it’s well worth the effort and is sure to be the talk of your T-Day feast.
Diet: Vegetarian, Vegan Option
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6-8 for a starter
Get Your Stuff Out
- 3 large onions, ends trimmed and peeled
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 40 or so large green beans (about 8 ounces), stem end trimmed off
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Fry Spice Mix (1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
- 8-10 ounces cold beer or club soda
- Shroom Dip, recipe below
- 2 cups or more canola oil, for shallow frying- If you need to brush up on your shallow frying technique, check out Fried Green Tomato Salad.
- crunchy sea salt or kosher salt to finish
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1-2 shallots
- 6 ounces cremini mushrooms
- 1/2 cup cow or vegan sour cream
- 1/4 cup cow or vegan mayonnaise
- fresh lemon juice, to taste
- kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Cook & Play
I know Adam Sandler has a very funny Hanukkah Song, but who knew he had a Thanksgiving Song? He does, and it seems like the perfect song to listen to when you make this fun bit of food.
1. Batter Up. Make a 1/4″ cut down the length of the onions and then thinly slice onions crosswise into long strings (the lengthwise cut turns the rings into strings when you cut crosswise) and toss strings in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and leave strings to soften- about 10 min. In another large bowl, mix flour, Fry Mix and then add enough beer until batter is the consistency of thick pancake batter. Add some batter to evenly and lightly coat onions in the onion bowl and then dump green beans to coat in batter that remains in batter bowl.
2. It’s A Wrap. Next to battered onions and battered beans bowls, set up a baking sheet or two that will fit into freezer. Use fork to place about 1 tbsp. coated onions on sheet, and wrap around a battered bean. Repeat until all beans are wrapped, then place tray(s), uncovered, into the freezer until batter sets- 1 hr.+/-.
3. What A Dip. While batter sets, warm oil over medium heat in medium fry pan and sauté shallots until starting to brown, then add 6 mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are golden. Let cool, then mix in medium bowl with sour cream, mayo, lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste. Refrigerate dip until needed.
4. Fry Time. The wrapped beans will be fused to the baking sheet once they are set for frying, so you will need to cut them free. To do this, use a knife to cut around each bean so they release freely, then use a thin spatula to carefully separate the wrapped bean from the sheet. Hold loosened bean sticks on sheet or plate and hold in freezer as oil heats. Add canola oil to come up 2 inches from bottom of large Dutch Oven, with plenty of safe room between oil and top of pot. Heat oil to 350°, using a deep fry thermometer to check and maintain the temperature, and carefully fry bean sticks on both sides and in batches of 6-8 until golden, about, 4-5 minutes. Warning- there’s a bit of spurting of the hot oil when the beans are added to hot oil, so add beans carefully and one at a time, with time for oil to settle between additions, and never let any water/moisture from hands or elsewhere go near the oil. Place fried beans on paper towel to wick away oil and season with salt. Fried beans can be held in 200° oven. Serve Onion-Bean Sticks with dip.
Easier Onion Wrapping. Thin, long and flexible onion strings are crucial for easy bean wrapping for this recipe- thick, short and/or rigid onions strings will not get the job done. Large onions make for longer strings and the combination of thin slices and salt gives you flexible onions strings for easier wrapping. Ideally, you would have a mandolin (aka “V Slicer”- a small washboard shaped device for easy, quick and uniform cutting, of mainly vegetables, into the thinnest of slices and a few other cuts) for quick and easy onion string slicing, but the oh so sharp blade and price tag (although my favorite Japanese inspired “mandolin is reasonably priced compared to the French inspired version) can be intimidating in the Young Adult Kitchen. If that’s the case, use a vegetable peeler (thinner slices than you’re likely to get with a knife, but more challenging to use to slice a large onion) or a sharp knife (easier to use than a vegetable peeler, but hard to get consistently thin slices) to make your thinly sliced onion strings.
Simple “Mushroom” Sauce. For a quick and simple alternative to the dipping sauce in this recipe, that fancy pants restaurants call “aioli”, use a small bowl to mix 1/2 cup of store bought vegan or not vegan mayo with a 1/4 teaspoon of ground porcini or truffle oil, tasting and adding more, bit by bit, until you like the “mushroomyness” of the sauce. Dried porcini and truffle oil can be pricey, but a little goes a long way for the funky flavor of the woods associated with mushrooms. I also know some chefs or chef wannabes bash affordable truffle oil that gets it earthy flavor from something other than truffles (as opposed to expensive truffle oils that use real and expensive truffles), but like with most subjective tastes in life, you should thoughtfully decide whether you like it, or any other bashed ingredient for that matter, and use it if you do regardless of what they or anyone else says. I know for a fact that at least one fancy pants and successful restaurant near me uses truffle oil for a flavor bump in one of it’s most popular dishes- Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese; otherwise, you’d need a small mortgage to pay for the dish.
Mix It Up. As much as I hope you make Green Bean Casserole on a Stick, which I consider to be one of my best recipes yet, each year (or at least once), what I think is more important, is for you to offer something fun or different to liven up your Thanksgiving Table every year. Come up with your own take on a Thanksgiving classic dish; bring your favorite dish from a local hole in the wall, like mozzarella sticks; or show up with a favorite treat from your childhood days, like cheese in a can. For a twist in a non food direction, invite a special surprise guest who is down on their luck, has nowhere to go or is from a part of the world that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or show off a new hairstyle (purple hair anyone?) or a fun new outfit- whatever sounds fun to you!
Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!
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