Fresh, organic, canned, frozen green beans...a favorite anytime of year.
After taking note of a social media post about 'what to do with green beans', I started recording all of the various green bean recipes FB friends were suggesting for Thanksgiving. Surprisingly, most weren't weighted down with heavy sauces, creams, and soups but were made with few ingredients and for the most part, healthy.
That's a 180 degree turn from the 70's when casseroles were all the rage. It was during this era, a Campbell's Soup Company employee, Dorcas Reilly, created the green bean casserole. She decided 'the bean' was boring and needed a flavor boost. So, she dumped a can of cream of mushroom soup in with 'the bean' and viola, a new holiday favorite was conceived.
In case you're unfamiliar with the recipe...here it is:
One large can of string beans (drained and rinsed) then poured into a square or rectangular glass dish. Add four to five pats of butter and heat through in a 350 degree oven until the butter melts. Add a can of cream of mushroom soup and spread over the beans. Top with the French's fried onions and bake until golden brown. Make sure you look for the bubbly soup 'doing its thing' along the side of the pan.
Did you know that green beans didn't make the cut for the traditional Thanksgiving meal until the 19th century? I can't imagine not having the green, go-to vegetable on the holiday table.
In fact, the first recorded Thanksgiving, more likely than not, had turkey, along with other fowl, pumpkin (not pie), potatoes, nuts, herbs, and grains.
How did the first Thanksgiving gathering come about? Governor William Bradford organized the feast in 1621 commemorating the Pilgrim's first successful corn harvest. He invited members of the colonies and Native American allies.
Since those early days, we've come full circle with vegetables. We're getting back to our traditional roots by eating whole foods like the early American settlers. Check out the recipes recorded in the comments of the social media post mentioned earlier.
Mexican Green Beans: Cut raw bacon into one inch squares. Cook in a frying pan on high heat for 3 - 4 minutes or desired crispness. Add a can of drained jalapeno/carrot mix (jalapenos in escabeche - located in the Mexican food section) and cook for two minutes. Add a can of drained and rinsed green beans and cook until the beans are heated through.
'Take it up a notch' Green Bean Casserole: Start with wild mushrooms sautéed in olive oil. Once browned, add one tbsp. of butter and flour. Stir in a cup or so of black garlic infused cream (substitute with roasted garlic and a few drops of balsamic vinegar), then pour over trimmed - blanched French green beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in French's fried onions and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Top with a few more fried onions the final few minutes until golden brown.
Chinese Green Beans: Deep fried green beans smothered in black bean sauce.
Organic Green Beans: Steam and top with sliced almonds and bread crumbs.
Junior League Green Beans: Fresh green beans covered in a ginger and orange sauce.
Go Go Go Green Beans: Spicy with extra mushrooms
Chi Dynasty Green Beans: Sauté fresh green beans in olive oil with lots of garlic.
Stir Fry Green Beans: Blanche then stir fry in olive oil, butter, minced garlic, sea salt, black cracked pepper and roasted, slivered almonds.
The BEST Green Beans: Fresh green beans, very lightly coated in cream of mushroom soup and seasoned with garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Bake at 350 degrees until warm and bubbly. No fried onions.