A green bean casserole smothered with
delicious Comté cheese. Photo courtesy
In our mother’s day, green bean casserole was a popular family dish. We can’t remember the last decade we saw one, either at home or on a restaurant menu.
So St. Patrick’s Day, coming up on March 17th, seems like the time to try a good recipe and put more green on the table.
This recipe was shared with us by Comté USA, the American bureau for France’s popular Comté cheese. Also called Gruyère de Comté, it has a much milder flavor than the Swiss Gruyère, aged for only three months compared to 8 months with Swiss Gruyère.
How popular is it? Comté has the highest production of all French AOC cheeses: around 40,000 tonnes* annually.
Dating back to the 12th century, Comté is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France. Here’s some fun cheese trivia: Comté is made only during the summer months, in huge wheels. In the fall, milk from the same cows is used to make Vacherin Mont d’Or, a small, creamy cheese that couldn’t be more different.
If you want to focus on Irish ingredients, look for a Gruyere-style Irish cheese like Glebe Brethan.
*In American English, a ton is a unit of measurement equaling 2,000 pounds. In Europe and elsewhere, a tonne equals 2,240 pounds (1000 kg). Don’t assume it’s the same measurement with a different spelling!
RECIPE: GREEN BEAN & MUSHROOM GRATIN WITH COMTÉ & FRIED SHALLOTS
This is a sophisticated version of a classic green bean casserole. No condensed cream of mushroom soup, no canned French-fried onions!
½ pound shallots (about 6 whole), peeled and very thinly sliced
1 cup canola oil
1¾ teaspoons salt, divided
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons butter
10 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms†, sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
4-ounces Comté, shredded (2 scant cups shredded)
†Cremini/crimini mushrooms are baby portabello/portobello mushrooms, often marketed as Baby Bellas. Check out the different types of mushrooms in our Mushroom Glossary.
1. LINE a large plate with paper towels. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer and lightly smoke. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until light golden brown, about 7-9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to the paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt.
2. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.
3. BRING a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, 4-5 minutes. While the beans cook, fill a large bowl with ice water. Drain the beans and immediately plunge them into the ice water to stop cooking. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel to dry.
4. MELT the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and toss. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and the minced garlic; cook 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Whisk in the broth and milk and bring to a simmer. Cook 5-6 minutes, or until thickened.
Comté cheese. Photo courtesy Comte USA.
5. TURN off the heat and add half of the shredded Comté, along with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add the green beans and stir to coat.
6. TRANSFER the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Comté over the top. Bake 10 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle the fried shallots over the gratin. Serve warm.