We’re turning all our Thanksgiving favorites into pies this year. Welcome to Piesgiving 2021. Bring your appetite.
I grew up in Brooklyn, and if you’ve ever visited the city, you know it isn’t really a casserole town. I don’t think I even tasted a casserole (unless you count baked ziti) until my 20s, when I met my husband. That’s when my casserole journey began—and today, I bring you my very own recipe for green bean casserole, a dish I never expected to spend so much time with.
My husband’s parents grew up in small town Iowa, and when they moved to New York, they brought their cream of mushroom soup ways with them. The casserole life was a huge culture shock for me when I met them, but I did my best to appreciate it, because when you’re in the beginnings of a relationship, there are more fun things to do than argue over the merits of canned soup.
I eventually learned to like a few of his favorites, and learned to Midwestern-ify some of my Italian-American comfort foods to bulk up my bona fides with his family back in the Hawkeye State. But try as I might, I could never find a way to like green bean casserole. Until now.
Instead of canned soup and slimy beans, what I present to you below is a Green Bean Casserole Tart, which treats mushrooms and green beans a little differently than the classic Thanksgiving dish. With this recipe in our arsenal, we finally have something exciting for both of us. It took 16 years to find a happy middle ground between the Midwest and the East Coast, but what is marriage if not a heap of puff pastry and compromise?
- Rough puff pastry (you can use store-bought puff pastry if you want, as long as it’s all-butter)
- 1 stick butter
- 2 lbs. frozen green beans
- 16 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup water or white wine
- 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese
- Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp. cold water)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 (2.8-oz.) can crispy fried onions or fried shallots
In a large cast iron skillet over high heat, melt the butter and then add the frozen green beans. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the green beans are fully thawed, then add the mushrooms with a generous pinch of salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 40-50 minutes, stirring regularly, until the vegetables have caramelized.
Turn off the heat and add the water/wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as you deem necessary. Remove one-third of the green bean mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Cut the cream cheese into large chunks and add to the hot green beans in the pan, stirring until melted, then set aside to cool completely. (Note: this can be done up to three days in advance of serving; package the green beans in two separate containers and refrigerate, then warm to room temperature before you make the tart.)
It is important for your puff pastry to be cold before you roll it out. If you’re using the frozen store-bought kind, let it thaw in the refrigerator. If you’re making your own (I promise it’s not as hard as you think!), after refrigerating, let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes to soften to rolling temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut a piece of parchment as large as a sheet pan, then put it directly onto whatever surface you like for rolling dough. Put your puff pastry in the center, lightly dust with flour, and roll into a rectangle that’s about 14 to 16 inches long, and 10 to 12 inches wide. (Don’t worry about being perfect.)
Use a fork to dock the puff pastry all over, then use a pizza cutter to trim the edges so you end up with a 9x13-inch rectangle in the center (see photo above). Brush the entire tart with egg wash, then fold the edges over to make a rim around the tart. If there’s any gangly, unwieldy bits of dough, cut them up, then tuck the pieces under the rim. Brush the edges with egg wash.
Spread the cream cheese/green bean mixture over the tart up to the edges, then carefully slide the entire sheet of parchment onto a baking sheet and bake the tart for 20 minutes.
Move the sheet pan to the top of the stove, and reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Spread the plain green bean-mushroom mixture across the top of the tart, then return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Let the tart cool for at least 5 minutes, then sprinkle with the fried onions or shallots, and serve either warm or at room temperature.
(This isn’t the first time we’ve put a fresh spin on Green Bean Casserole. To turn this classic Thanksgiving dish into a delectable dip, head here for an appetizer recipe.)