words and images: James Steufix
Gourmet Green Bean Casserole
- 2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
- 14 ½ oz. chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
- 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Cook green beans in boiling salted water until tender but still crisp (about 7 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Spread green beans on paper towels and pat dry.
In a large saucepan, “sweat” mushrooms over medium heat until they release all of the moisture and it evaporates. Add the balsamic vinegar. Once absorbed, add the olive oil and let it heat. Add 1/4 cup of flour and stir well to blend. While whisking, gradually add the broth, and then milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the green beans with the mushroom sauce, transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle with the crumbled goat cheese. Bake in a preheated oven at 425° for 15 minutes. Add crispy shallots (recipe follows) before serving.
- 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
- 5-6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a candy thermometer and when the oil reaches 220°, reduce heat to low and add shallots. Cook 30-40 minutes until golden brown, being careful to keep the temperature below 260°. Stir shallots to brown evenly. Remove shallots with a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Once cooled and crisp, you may store them covered for two days to use in your dishes.
Savory Butternut Squash & Mushroom Bread Pudding
FOR THE BREAD
- 9 cups day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsps. fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 tsps. fresh sage, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, pressed
FOR THE SQUASH & MUSHROOMS
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes about 3 cups of cut squash
- 3 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsps. aged balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- A few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1 lb. fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced
FOR THE CUSTARD
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 Tbsps. extra virgin olive
Prepare croutons: Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly oil a large cookie sheet with a little olive oil. In a large mixing bowl, toss bread cubes with mushrooms and measured olive oil, thyme and garlic. Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake until toasted and golden brown. Remove from oven, and cool bread on pan.
Prepare squash and mushrooms: Increase oven heat to 400°. Arrange squash on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to coat squash evenly. Sprinkle squash with the salt and pepper. Bake squash at 400° until tender (10-15 minutes). While squash is roasting, prepare mushrooms. In a small skillet, sauté chopped onion until tender. Stir in pressed garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
Place mushrooms in a separate, large skillet over medium heat. Allow mushrooms to “sweat” in the pan, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through. Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste. Remove squash from the oven and set aside to cool.
Prepare custard: Reduce oven heat to 350°. In large bowl, whisk together salt, milk, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, nutmeg, eggs, egg whites and parsley. Add squash, sautéed onions and garlic and sweated mushrooms to the bowl. Gently fold toasted breadcrumbs into the mix. Let mixture stand for about 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish with olive oil. Spoon bread pudding mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese. Bake bread pudding at 350° for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove bread pudding from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Drizzle with oil just before serving.
Port & Fig Balsamic Cranberry Sauce
- 2 cups Ruby Port
- 1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 9 dried black Mission figs, stemmed, chopped
- (1) 6-inch sprig fresh rosemary
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- (1) 12-oz. bag fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
Combine first six ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Discard rosemary. Mix in cranberries and 3/4 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries burst, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to bowl; chill until cold.
Make ahead: Cranberry sauce can be prepared one week ahead of time. Cover and keep refrigerated. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.