Green bean casserole - slimmed

  • Preparation Time45 mins
  • Cooking Time20 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyMedium
3 to 4 medium shallots, in their skins
1 1/2 tsp of sea salt, crushed
450g fresh French beans, stemmed, and halved crosswise
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
225g Portabella or other brown mushrooms, sliced
30g unsalted butter
3 tbsp plain flour
350ml mushroom, vegetable, or chicken stock (see Cook's Note)
3 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
70g fresh bread crumbs
1) Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.

2) Put the shallots (in their skins) on a small baking dish, roast for about 30 minutes, until soft. When cool enough to handle, skin and chop roughly . Set aside.

3) Bring a medium-large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt, to taste. Add the French beans, and cook, uncovered for about 3 minutes, until crisp-tender and bright green. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water then transfer to a large bowl.

4) In the same saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with about 1 teaspoon salt, cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, until browned. Add the mushrooms to the beans.

5) Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, for about 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until golden.

6) Slowly whisk in the stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to the boil.

7) Add the shallots, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally.

8) Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir to combine evenly.
9) Spray a 2-litre baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the pan. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of thyme to bread crumbs and scatter over the vegetables.

10) Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, until the sauce bubbles and the crumbs brown.

Cook's Note: For this recipe, make sure you don't use an Asian-style mushroom stock. If you can't find mushroom, a vegetable or chicken stock is a suitable substitute.

Tips: When sauteing mushrooms, salt them right away--they will release moisture and you can use less oil –a cup of fresh bread crumbs has less calories than a cup of dried - Roasting whole shallots is an excellent way to cook them using absolutely no fat

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