Green Bean Casserole with Panko and Bacon

Green Bean Casserole Serving
Makes 1 (9X13″) Casserole

2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
2 (14.5 oz) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 oz) jar mushroom stems and pieces, drained
3 large yellow onions, halved, thinly sliced ans sauteed
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 lb pkg Apple-wood smoked bacon, crisped and crumbled
1 cup Garlic-flavored Panko bread crumbs
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided (optional)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (optional)
black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish, and set aside
3. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp; cool then crumble, set aside
4. Drain off the bacon grease, leaving brown bits in the skillet; melt 2 Tablespoons butter
5. Add the onions, cover with a lid, and saute until browned; stirring frequently; Set aside
6. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel. Melt remaining butter and stir in Panko until all crumbs are coated; remove from heat and set aside
Note: If using canned green beans (drained), skip to step #10
7. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil; add the green beans and when the boil returns, start a timer for 4 minutes
8. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath to shock the beans for one minute to stop the cooking while they are still bright green
9. At 4 minutes, remove the beans from the heat and plunge into the ice bath to stop the cooking process
10. Spread half of the caramelized onions in the prepared casserole dish; top with green beans; season to taste with black pepper
11. Spread the mushroom soup and mushroom pieces over the green beans; sprinkle with half of the cheddar cheese
12. Top with the rest of the onions, the buttered Panko crumbs, bacon, and remaining cheese
13. Bake until hot, bubbly, and lightly browned, about 45 minutes.
14. Remove from heat and allow the casserole to rest 10 minutes before serving, to allow the cheese topping to set

Larry chops onions_smlThis recipe can also be made, quite successfully, by using 2 (14.5 oz) cans of green beans instead of making fresh. The difference is going to be a bean with a duller green color, and the canned beans won’t have the al dente crispiness of blanched fresh beans. The cheese and Panko topping will actually form a delicious crust to add to the wonders of this dish. If you also top with the optional Parmesan, it will create a chewier, nutty, crust that you will need to slice rather than scoop. We’ve used all these variations, and turned out great tasting dishes every time.