The following introduction and recipe were created by Kristina Glinoga, owner of Butchery 101 and a 10-year Seattle restaurant veteran. Here she shares her tips and recipe for one of her favorite Thanksgiving sides.
We all LOVE a good green bean casserole at Thanksgiving, right? “Green beans” were the most uniquely searched Thanksgiving side dish recipe in Washington state in 2019, according to Google trend data. But here’s the catch: Green beans aren’t in season in November, and recipes often utilize frozen green beans and canned soup. This recipe features the bounty of Pacific Northwest fall produce, and still delivers that creamy, crunchy goodness.
To make prep easier, you can make the mushroom cream sauce and cut the Brussels sprouts a few days ahead, but roast the sprouts and fry the onions the day of for the best flavor and texture. Also, make sure to reheat the mushroom cream sauce before folding in the Brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprouts can vary greatly in size, so split the big ones to best approximate a golf ball. Some farmers sell them still on a stalk. It’s like a tiny Christmas tree with Brussels sprouts for branches. Don’t use the stalk for this.
Dishes like this are why we save rendered animal fats. Whether it’s from bacon, chicken or tallow, a little animal fat here will go a long way toward elevating this dish. Even rendered leaf lard, the least flavorful of all the rendered animal fats, would add a noticeable shade of nuanced flavor with very little extra effort.
Recipe: Wild mushroom and Brussels sprouts casserole
Yield: 4-6 servings (from no more than 2 households)
Cream of mushroom soup:
- ½ pound local, in-season mushrooms like chanterelle, little foots or black trumpets (or whatever button mushrooms your grocery store has), cleaned and chopped
- 1 small onion, small diced
- 2 tablespoons lard (or canola oil)
- 2 ounces apple cider or white wine (or other slightly acidic beverage)
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3-4 cups milk
To season just before adding Brussels sprouts:
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Lemon zest to taste
- Salt to taste
- Ground nutmeg to taste
- Melt lard and 2 tablespoons butter in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add mushrooms and cook until slightly caramelized.
- Add onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
- In another pan, heat the milk over gentle heat so it’s hot before you add it to the mushroom pan.
- Deglaze the mushroom pan with apple cider, scrape up all the fond and reduce to nearly dry.
- Once the apple cider is just about all gone, add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and flour to the pan to make a roux. Cook until there’s no more raw flour smell.
- Once the flour is done cooking, gradually add the hot milk, one ladle at a time, stirring smooth between each addition. It will start out like a paste, and you thin it down by adding milk. If making ahead, only add 3 cups of the milk and reserve a cup for reheating.
- Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is like thick pancake batter.
- If making ahead, chill and store covered until Thanksgiving Day. Then reheat gently, stirring often, over low heat, with the reserved cup of milk. Season with herbs, lemon zest, salt and ground nutmeg.
- 1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed of dry brown spots
- ½ cup melted lard (or canola oil)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 450 F.
- Cut the Brussels sprouts in half along the stem, not the equator; each half should look identical. Cut the larger sprouts into quarters and leave the smaller ones whole. Your goal is to have uniformly shaped sprouts to ensure even cooking.
- Place sprouts in a large bowl with your cooking fat and mix until they’re coated in fat.
- Place sprouts on a baking sheet in a single layer, cut sides down as much as possible.
- Roast in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the sprouts are caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside. Check this with a fork or paring knife.
- Place sprouts in another large bowl with the warm mushroom cream sauce and fold gently to coat.
- Pour Brussels sprouts and mushroom mixture into your favorite shallow casserole pan. Make sure to grease the pan with butter or lard first!
- Bake at 400 F until bubbly and the top is golden brown.
- Let cool slightly, then top with fried onions before serving.
“French’s” fried onions:
- 1 medium onion
- 1-2 cups cornstarch
- 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite locally curated seasoning spice mix, like Addo, Kitchen Imp, Pike Place Fish or Burlap & Barrel
- Salt to taste
- Peel and halve onion through the root.
- With your sharpest knife or mandolin, cut onion into ¼-inch slices.
- Whisk together cornstarch and seasoning mix. Toss with the onion slices to coat. Allow onions to sit in the dredge for about 20 minutes to hydrate the starch.
- Heat a large pan filled with 2 to 3 inches of lard or oil over medium heat, around 300 F.
- Fry the onions until crispy and golden brown. Remember to work in small batches relative to your pot of oil and to knock off loose dredge before adding the onions to the oil. A wire strainer or spider strainer would work well here. The onions will continue to carry-over cook once out of the oil, so pull them out when they’re a couple of shades lighter than you’d expect.
- Drain on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel and season with salt as soon as they come out of the fryer.
These onions make a great topping for pulled pork sandwiches or hot dogs!