You get tired of the old standby's. The same old turkey, the same old mashed potatoes, the same old cranberry sauce...
The holiday meals in a Filipino household has always been different. It's not only the traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meals, but we always add our own national dishes in the mix, like Lumpia Shanghai, Pancit, Chicken and Pork Adobo, Chicken Relleno's during the Noche Buena meal. My Dad used to tell me stories about Simbang Gabi...waking up at an impossibly early hour to go to mass, and when I took a trip to California early in December (2005 or 2006), my aunt was already planning the Simbang Gabi meal. One of our last Thanksgiving dinners in Chicago, our table was full to capacity with lots of goodies that we had, but also adding what my parents, my aunt, and my cousin made...all Filipino dishes.
Now that I'm running my own household, and finding myself in charge of continuing on the sweetness of doing something different, I am bound and determined to add something different every year, to our holiday table.
Here's the first one: it's called The Mean Green. As in Green Bean Casserole. I am an avid Food Network fan, and it is one of my go-to sources for trying out new recipes. One day, maybe a month before Thanksgiving last year, I was watching a California dude of a host named Guy Fieri (if you tune in to one of his shows Guy's Big Bite, or Diner's Drive-In's and Dives you will see what I mean by "California dude") and he was making a very interesting take on a green bean casserole...including a recipe for making your own onion rings...which I didn't do, because I was pressed for time. The resulting casserole that came out of the oven, was so heavenly!
Here's a slightly blurry version of it:
The Mean Green
For the Beans:
- 2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces (weighed prior to trimming)
- 4 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large Vidalia sweet onion, 1/2 cut into large dice, 1/2 reserved
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 2 by 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 shittake mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 4 oyster mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Roux
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling water, blanch green beans. Remove to an ice bath until cool, drain and let dry. Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish.
In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, saute bacon until lightly crispy, remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. In remaining bacon fat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, heat over medium-high heat, add onions and saute until just starting to caramelize, add in red bell peppers, saute 2 minutes, add in mushrooms and minced shallot and saute for 2 more minutes. Season with the salt, pepper and cayenne. Set aside.
For the roux:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. When butter is melted, add in flour, all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until well combined. Continue to stir for 1 minute more. Add in milk 1/2 cup at first, stirring well to combine, then add 1 cup more milk, stir to combine and bring to a simmer, then add final 1/2 cup of milk and stir and simmer until thickened.
Add in seasonings, combine with green bean mixture and pour into prepared pan. Top with 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs, then reserved bacon, then remainder of panko lightly sprinkled on top.
Place in oven, set timer for 35 minutes.For the Topping
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Reserved 1/2 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced, with a mandoline
- 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced with a mandoline
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 cups canola oil
In a medium bowl place buttermilk, onion, and shallots. Let sit 10 minutes, drain well.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and seasonings. When green beans have been in the oven 25 minutes, in a large frying pan, heat canola oil to 350 degrees F. While oil is heating, dredge drained onion and shallots in flour mixture. Drop carefully into the hot oil, 1/3 at a time. They will cook rapidly, 1 minute or less. Turn over if necessary. Remove and drain on paper towels. Let oil heat between batches.
When timer goes off for green beans, take out of oven, top with onion-shallot mixture, evenly coating the casserole, place back into oven and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Remove and let set 5 minutes before serving.
Because I was pressed for time I didn't have a chance to take photos of the whole process, just the end result (see above), and for this recipe, I actually used thin, french cut green beans. Works just as well! The dish was absolutely amazing, and it's going to stay on my Thanksgiving table for quite awhile.
Like I said earlier, I didn't do the homemade version of the onion rings, I just used the store-bought French's Onion Rings, and either one is perfect, I saw it demonstrated on Guy Fieri's show, and it looked really good...I just wish I had a bit more time to accomplish that.
Hope you try this for your table! It's a lot of work, but well worth the effort.