Elegant Green Beans (small batch)

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Elegant Green Beans

 Back in the late 1960's, when I was just a little girl, my family moved halfway across Canada from Manitoba to Nova Scotia.  That was a huge adventure for a little girl. I was 10 at the time and I still carry many fond memories with me from that trip.

First of all we were not a family that went on holidays or trips. At best we got to go to the beach maybe one day in the summer months, or grocery shopping with my parents, where we would sit in the car and wait for my mother to finish.

So a cross country trip was a really BIG deal for us. 

Elegant Green Beans 

When we got to Vermont we visited with my mother's cousin Polly.  Polly and her family lived at the top of a hill in a big house. There were oodles of children in the family. At least that is what it seemed like to me.

My mother and father spent the day visiting with Polly and her husband Red and we children spent the day frolicking about the place with Polly's children.  Every single one of us, to this day, has very fond memories of that visit, even my father.

They were such kind and magnanimous hosts.

Elegant Green Beans 

Sadly we lost Polly a few months ago.  She was always sending me lovely messages and crochet patterns on Facebook.  I am friends with all of her children and their partners on there. Polly was very family oriented and loved to do family history. 

Much like me in that way.  She was pretty fabulous for a woman in her 90's.  Very computer literate. Unlike my mother who freaked out even if she touched one with her vacuum cleaner, lol.  Mom wouldn't even have a bank card. 

I miss Polly very much and I am sure her family misses her even more.

Elegant Green Beans 
Anyways, the whole point of me bringing up Polly and that visit is this.  For supper on that night that we were there she served a delicious green bean casserole!  

One that has lived on in my memory as one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten. This recipe I am sharing today is not her fancy green beans recipe. I have shared that one before.  

However it does very much remind me of it.  And when I was eating it I was very much visiting Polly and her family back in the annals of my memory.

Elegant Green Beans 

The original version of this recipe was one I found on Taste of Home.  It is attributed to a reader named Linda from Minnesota. The original recipe made 8 servings. I did not need 8 servings.

The recipe sounded very delicious however and I did want to try it, so I took the liberty of downsizing it to make only 4 servings.  It is rich and fabulously tasty.  And today I share it with you and remember mom's cousin Polly as I do.

Elegant Green Beans 
Polly's recipe used cream of mushroom soup along with green beans and crispy French fried onions. This version has a tasty sauce in the place of the soup and a few other ingredients as well.  Both version are delicious.

This version boasts a rich béchamel type of sauce, flavored with chicken stock, soy sauce and hot sauce.  It also has a layer of sautéed onions, mushrooms and crunchy water chestnuts in the middle. Like Polly's it has crisp French fried onions on top. 

I did tweak it a tiny bit as you will see, with fabulous results.

Elegant Green Beans 


It might look like a lot of ingredients, but it really isn't. Also you may have to open a can of water chestnuts that won't be totally used. You can freeze what you don't use in a small container for use in the future.

  • canned sliced water chestnuts
  • onion
  • sliced fresh mushrooms (They used canned)
  • butter
  • flour
  • milk (I always use whole milk. I prefer its richness)
  • chicken stock (I use the condensed that you reconstitute with water)
  • soy sauce (I like the dark)
  • hot pepper sauce (I like the green Tabasco)
  • frozen whole green beans (They used French style, slivered,which I can't get here. The whole worked fine.)
  • Cheddar Cheese (I always use strong or sharp so that you can notice the flavor)
  • French-fried onions (The kind in the can. In the UK use crispy salad onions from the salad dressing aisle.)

Elegant Green Beans 
The whole purpose of the crispy onions on top is to add a bit of crunch, texture and flavor. If you cannot get them (and I know many can't) you can use crushed cracker crumbs mixed with some melted butter.

Make sure they are only coarsely crushed and if you want additional flavor use one which has a bit of flavor added to it such as a sour cream and onion one, etc.

Elegant Green Beans 


This was really simple to make. Not quite as simple as opening some cans, but almost as simple.  You begin by thawing out your frozen green beans.

This is really easy to do. You can of course just leave them out on the counter for a few hours to thaw, but it is a lot faster if you cover them with boiling water, let them sit for a few minutes and then drain.  Make sure you squeeze/pat them dry.

You will need to sauté the onions, mushrooms, and water chestnuts in some butter. You don't want the to brown and remember that mushrooms release a lot of water, which intensifies the more you agitate them, so do try to leave them alone until most of the water has evaporated.

Elegant Green Beans 

The sauce is a very basic one and quite easy to make. Melt some butter, whisk in some flour. Cook for a minute to cook out the flour taste and then slowly whisk in the stock and milk.

Cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Once that happens you can add the soy sauce and hot sauce and adjust the seasoning with some salt and pepper.  How much salt you use depends on the saltiness of your stock and your soy sauce.

I did not need any salt at all.

Elegant Green Beans 

This sauce gets stirred into the green beans along with some cheese.  I like to use strong cheddar because it has the nicest flavor.  Mix it all together.

Layer the green bean mixture in a casserole dish in two layers with the mushroom/onions/chestnuts layered in the middle.  

Bake uncovered for about 35 to 40 minutes, top with the crispy onions and bake a little while longer until golden brown.

Elegant Green Beans

And that's it.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  A delicious side dish perfectly sized for four on the day, or for two with leftovers to enjoy the day after!

I shared some with my next door neighbor.  You know I live in a community which has a lot of elderly people living here. A lot of them really enjoy getting an impromptu visit every now and then, especially if you bring them a treat.

Although to be honest, most are just happy to have your company.  Elegant Green Beans, and a visit with someone, both very good things. Happy Thanksgiving!

Elegant Green Beans

Elegant Green Beans

Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 48 MinTotal time: 1 H & 7 M
Meaty whole green beans combined with sautéed mushrooms and the crunch of water chestnuts in a rich and cheesy sauce. This truly is a fabulous side dish to serve on a special occasion! The original recipe made 8 servings.


  • 4 ounces (115g) water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) sliced mushrooms
  • 3 TBS butter, divided
  • 2 TBS all purpose plain flour
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp hot sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste (you may not need any)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) grated strong cheddar cheese
  • a small handful of crispy french-fried onions (in the UK crispy salad onions)
  • 8 ounces (230g) (about 2 cups) frozen whole green beans, thawed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350*C/180*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 3 cup casserole dish. Set aside.
  2. Place your green beans in a bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside to thaw. Drain well and pat dry. Return to the bowl.
  3. Melt 1 TBS of butter in a skillet. Add the onions, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Sauté until the onion and mushrooms are tender. Set aside.
  4. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and stock. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Whisk in the soy sauce and hot pepper sauce.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning as required with salt and black pepper. Pour the sauce over the green beans in the bowl. Add the cheese and mix everything well together.
  6. Place half of the green beans in the casserole dish. Top with the onion/mushroom/chestnut mixture. Spoon the remaining green beans over top.
  7. Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. It should be bubbling. Sprinkle the crispy fried onions on top and bake for a further 5 to 8 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Serve hot.
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Elegant Green Beans
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  1. The traditional green bean casserole has a lot of names in our circle -- "Bean Crap," "Green Bean Crapperole," "Green Bean Goop," "The Bean Thing." Probably all used the original mushroom soup and they are good -- but I think your bechamel sauce would be the way to go. It would amp it up a bit (I like the hot sauce idea!).

    1. I know Jeanie! Green bean casserole gets a bad rap in many circles, but I love it any which way myself! xoxo


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