Homemade Green Bean Casserole (Gluten Free & Grain Free)
Thanksgiving is one of the most difficult holidays if you are gluten sensitive. From stuffing to gravy it’s loaded with poisonous pitfalls. For years now, we’ve been turning down offers from our friends to join them to celebrate because there’s just too much chance of cross contamination, followed by weeks of digestive issues for me. Plus, I don’t want to cramp anyone’s traditions just to make room for me at the table.
Vince and I usually have a quiet dinner at home, just the two of us. It’s not that we don’t indulge in traditional fixin’s, it’s just that I make some of them just a little differently – like gravy made with arrowroot powder for thickening or stuffing from wild rice instead of bread. So, it’s been years since I’ve had green bean casserole.
It’s not like green bean casserole is a must-serve holiday side dish, but it is a nostalgic favorite for many people. However, for those of us who are Celiac or gluten sensitive it’s off the menu because cream soups are an absolute no-no – not to mention the French fried onions on top.
The truth is neither cream soups nor French fried onions have to include grain – not even cornstarch. Sure, flour roux is common, but it’s not the way to thicken the base. I decided to thicken my cream soup base with potato starch -a slam dunk for this recipe. As for the onions, I coated them with chickpea flour. Inspired by Indian Pakoras, I’ve have great success using chickpea flour as a batter-base for fried foods.
Anyway, enough of the back story, here’s the recipe for Homemade Green Bean Casserole (that just happens to be gluten free and grain free.) If you are not Celiac or gluten sensitive, you can simply substitute the chickpea flour and potato starch for regular flour.
Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole
Oil of frying
1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced and rings separated
1/3 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Pinch of garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped (not too fine, remember that mushrooms shrink when you cook them)
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons potato starch
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 lengths
Preheat a deep fryer to 350F. Alternately, you can heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat in a heavy pot, like a Dutch oven. Make sure you add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot with an inch or so of oil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chickpea flour, salt, white pepper and garlic powder. Stir with a fork to blend. Add the onion rings and toss to coat.
Shake the excess chickpea flour off the onion rings and fry in batches, until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with additional salt if desired and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, shallots, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to release some of their liquid, approximately 5 minutes.Toss in the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the potato starch over the mixture and stir to combine. Next, add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the heavy cream. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 5 or so.
While the sauce is thickening, add the green beans to the boiling water. Cook until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the beans. Drain thoroughly and then mix the beans into the mushroom sauce. (Note: if you plan to make this casserole in advance. You should plunge the cooked beans into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Then drain them and add them to the mushroom sauce.)
Pour the mushroomy green beans into a buttered casserole dish. Top with fried onions and bake for 15 minutes until bubbling and hot. (If you make the casserole in advance and plan to reheat it, it will take longer to bake. I would expect it to take between 30 and 45 minutes to get piping hot.) Serve immediately.