|Purple pole beans|
This year seems to be a good one for green beans. We’ve put in the freezer the amount we expect to use until they grow again next year, and there are still more in the garden to pick. And because of this we’ve been enjoying a favorite dish, the green bean casserole many times this summer.
A row of wax bush beans was planted in the square foot method with seeds about 6” apart. It has grown in very thickly, and after two productive harvests about a week apart, the row is still producing beans. In addition to this row we have “bird perches.” These are branches gleaned from the woods stuck in the ground as poles throughout most of the garden spaces. Around these were planted seeds saved last year from some purple beans, and some green and yellow pole beans we’re trying (we try new things every year). These have apparently had a wonderful time of climbing, twisting, and curling themselves into thick pillars around the poles. We have to really scrounge into them for the beans. Some also have squash vines climbing around them, making bean picking even more of a challenge.
Here is my way of making a green bean casserole without resorting to supermarket canned goods. As well as the beans, the onion, chives, garlic, basil and oregano are harvested fresh for this tasty dish. Enjoy! -G.H.
Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 - 6 as a side dish.
To make this recipe easy to follow I’ve divided it into three parts. For the topping do not be tempted to use additional butter- this is so the onion will cook crisply. The timing for cooking the green beans leaves them slightly al dente- cook them initially a bit longer if you prefer them “well cooked”.
1 lb of green, wax, or purple bush or pole beans with ends trimmed and cut into approx. 2” lengths
2 quarts of water
1 tsp salt
Heat the water to boiling. Add the salt and the beans. Cover and cook until the beans are tender but still bright green- about 6 to 7 minutes. Plunge the beans into cold water to stop the cooking, then place them into a colander and allow them to drain. Set aside.
1 large onion, thin sliced and quartered
2 slices of bread, finely chopped
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
1 pinch salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the bread and stir to coat it with the melted butter. Add the salt, pepper, and chives. Cook approximately 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Set aside.
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced thin
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped (6-8 leaves)
1/4 cup oregano, chopped fine
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 cup of sour cream
Heat the butter on medium low. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Simmer until the mushrooms soften, stirring regularly, about 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and keep stirring while it cooks for about 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Add the sour cream and simmer about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir the beans into the sauce. Spoon the mixture into a lightly oiled casserole dish. Sprinkle the topping over the bean mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until the topping begins to brown. Serve right away.