Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gratitude 2: Green beans.

The year I got married, my first assignment for Thanksgiving was green bean casserole.  It's a tradition in our family, and though I had never made it, my family somehow trusted me to bring it to our Thanksgiving feast.

Now I realize it was about the easiest think they could give to me: it was the meal item that required the least skill and room for error. Previously in the year, I had been asked to bring frog-eye salad to Easter.  It was a disaster.  I woke up Easter morning having forgotten to make the sauce that had to sit overnight in the fridge.  I didn't even have the ingredients to make said sauce.  And it was when Easter was on the time change day, so while I woke up at 9:30 am, it was all of a sudden 10:30 am and I had only 4 hours to show up at my mom's, salad in tow.  I pulled it off (barely) but I guess they didn't want to take the risk.

So that first married Thanksgiving Day, I made the green bean casserole.  It turned out perfect.  Our family's recipe goes like this:

Anywhere from 9 to 15 cans of green beans, drained.  (There are usually 25+ people at my mom's house.)
1 carton sour cream
1 to 2 teaspoons dried onion
3 or 4 cans of cream of mushroom soup
1 or 2 cans sliced water chestnuts
1 to 2 teaspoons black pepper
Container of French's fried onions

Mix sour cream, soup, pepper, water chestnuts and dried onion together in a large bowl.  Start to fold in beans. Pour into 1-2 9 x 13 casserole dishes.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Top with friend onions for last 5 minutes of baking time.

This is the perfect recipe for green bean casserole.  The water chestnuts add the perfect crunch just when you want them.  The fried onions suffuse the dish with their savory goodness.  I don't even mind them the next day, warmed up, when the onions have gone sort of soft. 

In fact, I cannot think of Thanksgiving leftovers without wanting to eat a bowl of green bean casserole with one of my mom's awesome crescent dinner rolls.  Heaven.

Last year, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  It was awesome.  I had practiced cooking turkeys for a few years (one disastrous day-after-Thanksgiving years ago, I neglected to take the packet of neck and giblets out of the turkey cavity before I cooked it.  Gross. I won't make that mistake again!!)  So I was ready to be the hostess for this king of all holiday meals.  I think it went great.

But I'll always be grateful for that first year when I tried my hand at the green bean casserole.  It led to me trying more and more traditional dishes that culminated last Thanksgiving.  I am a little sad that I'm not cooking again this year, but it will be fun to be with my family again; it's been 4 years since we ate together. And I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving-eve in 3 weeks, making the beans again.

At least if I forget this year, I won't have the time change against me.


Amy Sorensen said...

mmmmmm. That sounds good. I love left-over gbc for breakfast sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend. Preferably when i come home from shopping on Black Friday (when it's just about breakfast time!)