Transform your favorite holiday side dish into one a fun and delicious appetizer using from scratch homemade ingredients!
This dish kinda came out of part experimentation, part tradition, part boredom and part need to clean out my fridge. That’s a lot of parts, I know! See it was Thanksgiving day and if your house is like me, green bean casserole is a must. Like growing up I swear Mom made POUNDS of this for the table and there was never enough of it to go around. Honestly this was the only way she would get me to eat green beans. If she made them (which were canned, boiled and slathered with pounds of butter) I would eat maybe 1 or 2 (which would take me 30 minutes to ingest) and then I would turn my nose up inevitably feeding the dog.. and cat. No wonder we had a 40 pound cat! No really, I had a 40 pound Maine Coon cat. The thing was GINORMOUS but ridiculously loveable! So gentle too! He’d let me dress him up in my toddler baby clothes, put a bonnet on it, ruffled panties (to which I’d cut a hole out for his tail) and push him the baby buggy. I swear the cat loved playing dress up just as much as I did!
Now if you grew up like I did your green bean casserole was made with the following items – canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, salt/pepper and corn flake crumbles. We couldn’t afford the crispy onion straws so we made do. Thing is, the stuff was pretty good I must say, even with canned ingredients. She’d drizzle butter over the cornflakes so they’d brown up and crisp even more while baking. It got to the point where she would serve us this dish as the kids would merely just scoop off the crispy coating and leave the beans and soup mixture underneath. Ha! Mom was no fool!
Fast forward years later. I was living on my own, my parents had long passed and I was craving this dish. Me being me didn’t want canned beans or canned soup so I set out to make my own from scratch. Well okay I didn’t “make” my beans from scratch as I didn’t grow them. Please, I let the experts do that – I don’t garden. I have no patience for that plus there are bugs! LOL Actually no, if I didn’t have 900 million other things going on in my life I would love to have a small garden but I honestly just don’t have the time for it. So I bought fresh beans and set out to make my own sauce. Now I’ve made cream of mushroom soup before but it’s not as thick as it needs to be for this dish. I HATE it when you make green bean casserole and when you go to spoon it up it’s all runny. Watch my face if you ever see someone serve me it. It’s a natural reaction. It just horrifies me. I know, I’m a snob. Sorry! It should be creamy and clingy. The sauce should stick to the beans. Well this sauce does my friends!
After tweaking my soup recipe a bit I came up with the perfect sauce that sticks to the green beans and is so packed with flavor! Now flash forward to this past Thanksgiving day. Since it was just Mr. Fantabulous and I, I didn’t have to make pounds of this stuff (though I could have very easily done so and eaten it all myself). I was getting ready to pour this mixture into my casserole dish when I just stood there looking all blah at it.
I just wasn’t feeling another casserole. I stuck my head back in the fridge for the umpteenth time and spied 2 lovely packages of portabella caps that I kinda-sorta-forgot-about. The one pack held 4 huge ones and the other held 8 appetizer sides ones. PERFECT! I figured I’d scoff at tradition and either create one awesome new tradition/party appetizer/side dish or make just a big ol’ mess. Either way I was going for it.
Once I cleaned the mushrooms, scraped the gills out I stuffed these puppies and topped them with my cracker butter crumble. I didn’t have any of the crispy onions to put on top and literally every burner I have was being used otherwise I would have made my own since they are so super simple. But wait, before I continue, do you know why or better yet, when to scrape out the gills of these mushrooms?
No? Oh yeah! I love ‘splain’ stuff! LOL You can eat the gills as they are 100% edible. In salads, for burger toppings, and fried up I leave them whole. For light sauces or to stuff I scrape. If you leave the gills in for lighter sauces the gills are so deep and dark in color that they can actually “bleed” their color into your sauce causing it to look muddy or gray. And if you’ve ever made mushroom alfredo sauce you expect it to be light in color; not gray or muddy. It just doesn’t look appealing. And as for stuffing that just pretty basic. If you remove them it means there’s more room to stuff… STUFF! LOL And I’m ALL about stuffing in as much as possible!
Back to these lovelies… Once the turkey was done and resting I popped these in the oven and let them cook up for about 15 minutes or so. This gave me enough time to carve up some turkey, plate the stuffing, put the taters on the table and warm up the rolls. Yeah, I’m the queen of multi-tasking! When I opened up the oven door and saw these things I had the BIGGEST grin ever! Like even without a single taste I knew, I knew, that I created something awesome. I created a new tradition!
The sauce was bubbling and thick. The crumbs were toasted brown. The mushroom cap was tender and soft but still firm enough that you could pick it up and eat it with your fingers (well for the smaller ones that is) or sturdy enough to use a knife and fork to slice it.
When I placed these on the table Mr. Fantabulous looked at me and gave me a very inquisitive look. He then asked where the “creamy mushroom stuff” was and I pointed to these. Again I got the look. It drives him CRAZY that I mess around with the ‘classics’ but hey, he knew this was how I am. Plus green bean casserole is so awesome yet, like Pumpkin Pie, we only make it once or twice a year. With this way you can make it anytime!
At first bite I knew he was hooked. Then again honestly, even if he wasn’t, I didn’t care as I was so in heaven! Since Thanksgiving I’ve made this recipe a good 5 times adding in a few different items along with the way. I have 2 favorite ways – the one below and also adding in crumbled crispy bacon with the butter crumb mixture. I mean c’mon it’s bacon folks and #baconislove!
If you’re looking for an awesome holiday side dish or appetizer; perhaps something for your New Years’ Eve party (are we invited???) these would be PERFECT!!!
Also if you’re looking for a hearty meatless meal, use the giant caps and make that your meal! I’d so be all over that for dinner!Print
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lb fresh (cut into 1” pieces) or frozen green beans (See note about using canned)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 Tbl garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp dill
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 4 Tbl cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6–8 large portabella mushroom caps, cleaned or if making appetizers use 12-24 medium sized caps
- 16 crushed butter crackers *or can use crispy onion straws
- 1–2 Tbl melted butter
- Large bowl of ice water
- Bring a gallon of water and 1 tsp of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add the beans and boil for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Remove the beans from the ice water after 2 minutes and place back into the colander to drain.
- Place a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in 1 Tbl of oil. When the oil starts to shimmer add the cut up mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan add the remaining oil. Add in the garlic, shallots, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook until the shallots are soft. About 3-5 minutes. Add in the cooked mushrooms. Add in the broth and simmer for one minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Make a slurry of the cornstarch and cream in a cup. Add to the mushroom mixture. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Add in the dill and taste for seasoning. Remove from the heat and add in the drained green beans.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack inside.
- Lightly spray the cooling rack. Place 2-3 Tbl of the mixture into your portabella cap mounding it up. Don’t overfill it. My caps were pretty large so adjust accordingly to the size of yours. Place the filled caps on top of the rack. If using crackers, mix together the crackers and the melted butter. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs on top of the caps (or use the onion straws). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft but still have their shape and the cracker crumbs are golden brown.
If using canned beans use low sodium, drain them well and skip steps 1-4 as there is no need to cook them.
Looking for more awesome appetizer and side dishes?