Updating the classics
Tweak tradition by adding flavor boosts to side dishes
Everyone's favorite: Not really, but it's a Thanksgiving classic. Adding sweet onion and dried mushrooms to the milk and letting it steep will yield a richer flavor. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
Note:Look for canned fried onions, or sub with crumbled veggie stick snacks.
2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 ½ cups whole milk
1/2 large sweet onion, peeled, halved
1/4 ounce dried mushrooms, such as porcini
2 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 ½ tablespoons each: butter, flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup fried onion pieces
1. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans; boil, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold water. Refrigerate covered up to a couple of days.
2. Put milk, sweet onion, dried mushrooms, cloves and bay leaves in a small saucepan. Heat to a simmer. Remove from heat; steep, about 20 minutes. Strain to capture the milk. Discard the cloves, bay leaves. Finely chop onion and mushrooms.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Slowly whisk in the strained milk. Cook and stir until smooth and thick. Add chopped onion and mushrooms; season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate covered for up to a couple of days; thin with a little milk when reheating, if needed.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss green beans with sauce. Arrange in a buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with fried onions; bake 5 minutes.
Per serving: 135 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 230 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.