All We Are Saying is Give Green Beans a Chance This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving seems to often consist of many delicious, starchy favorites like mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and dressing. Growing up, one of the quickest side dishes to go on our table was sautéed green beans.

Over the years, and especially since I’ve come to live in the South, it’s been brought to my attention that my mother was improperly preparing the green beans for this festive day. I couldn’t disagree more, but in response to you naysayers, I will propose three unique green bean recipes and let you decide the “proper” way on your own.

#1 The Green Bean Casserole Recipe

This is regarded as a staple on many Thanksgiving tables and often considered a necessity – or at least so I have been passionately told. Having had the opportunity to enjoy several versions of the green bean casserole, I do agree it’s quite delicious. However, nearly each time it was created with unique ingredients.

Sometimes with a crispy bacon topping, other times with rich cheeses mixed into the creamy filling, and even once as a pseudo quiche. The recipe included below is fairly simple, and can be altered to accommodate unique mix-ins and toppings.

Serving dish of green bean casseroleIngredients

  • 1 10 ¾-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups cooked green beans (canned, fresh, or frozen)
  • 1 1/3 cup French’s French Fried Onions

Directions

Combine 2/3 cup onions, soup, milk, pepper, beans, and cheese in a large mixing bowl. Mix until green beans are fully coated in soup and milk mixture. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, top with remaining onions, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes, and enjoy your green bean casserole.

#2 The Southern Style Green Beans Recipe

These, too, have many variations. Some are cooked in a slow cooker and others on the stove; some with bacon grease; others with chicken stock; and some with vinegar. Bottom line: With these, it’s going to be a long process. This recipe comes to us from Emeril Lagasse and Food Network. (http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/1,1000011,FOOD_9936_30521,00.html)

Bowl of Southern Style Green BeansIngredients

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into thirds
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed off
  • 8 small new potatoes, halved if large
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large saucepan or medium Dutch oven (http://www.katom.com/cat/grid/dutch-oven-brazier.1.html), cook bacon over medium heat until it has rendered most of its fat and has begun to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the green beans, potatoes, and enough water to just cover them. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then cover the pan and simmer until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary to keep the beans covered. As the beans get close to being done they will become quite fragile, so take care when stirring.

#3 The Most Delicious Sautéed Green Beans on Earth Recipe

That is probably disputable, but these green beans are pretty delicious, extremely simple to make, and produce a fabulous aroma. Yes, you can add walnuts and cranberries, and you may even consider shallots. Truthfully, you don’t need any of that.

Sauteed Green Bean SidesIngredients

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions

In a large skillet, sauté the green beans and garlic until tender-crisp. Season with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.

Chelsea B. Sanz
Chelsea B. Sanz

Chelsea Sanz has lived in East Tennessee since her family moved here from South Florida just before she started high school. While she initially begrudged her new home state, she eventually realized she had come to not only love it, but to “bleed orange” as University of Tennessee Volunteers fans here like to say. She and her boyfriend Hunter, a trail worker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy exploring the nation’s most visited national park and coming up with their own farm-to-table recipes.

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