I love, love, love green bean casserole. It’s my favorite dish at the Thanksgiving table. But I went 18 years of my life without knowing the wonders of green bean casserole. My freshman year in college, I couldn’t afford to fly home to Hawaii from Ann Arbor just for a four-day weekend. So I went to my friend Mallika’s house for Thanksgiving (her sister, by the way, writes an awesome knitting and vegetarian/Indian cooking blog). There, I tasted for the first time, aloo matar and green bean casserole, both of which I immediately adored.
A month later, when I made my way home to Hawaii, I insisted we add green bean casserole to our Christmas dinner — of course, my mother rolled her eyes, claiming she’d tried to serve green bean casserole when my sister and I were younger, but we both snubbed it (we conveniently don’t recall). Green bean casserole has since been a Thanksgiving and Christmas staple wherever I am.
But for as much as I love green bean casserole, I despise leftover green bean casserole.
So I had to figure out how to make just enough green bean casserole for Thanksgiving so I wouldn’t have to deal with leftovers. Solution: single-serving pot pies!
When reading my recipe below, bear in mind that I’ve taken a red pen to the traditional green bean casserole recipe. I’ve added cumin and chile arbol for a deep, earthy heat. I also use celery instead of mushrooms, since the S.O. and his family are a bunch of fungus-haters. And I’ve replaced the French fried onions with sautéed shallots. So if you’d prefer the casserole component to be more traditional, just prep it as you normally would, then dish it out into individual ramekins, top with pie crust, and bake. Easy as [pot] pie!
Green Bean Casserole Pot Pies
Serves 2 | Prep Time 50 mins | Cook Time 25 mins
- 3/4 lb green beans
- [6 C water + 1/2 T salt for blanching beans]
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 T butter
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp chile arbol powder (or cayenne)
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 C half & half
- 2 T a.p. flour
- 3/4 C vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 pie crust (below, or can use pre-made)
- 1 egg white
- 2 T water
- 8 T butter
- 1 + 1/4 C a.p. flour
- 1/4 C granulated sugar
- pinch salt
- 3 T ice cold water
- If DIYing the pie crust, start on that first (or thaw a frozen store-bought crust). Cut refrigerator-cold butter into 1/2″ cubes, then place in freezer for the duration of prepping the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt, and stir to combine. Remove butter from freezer, and add to flour mixture.
- Working quickly, rub flour mixture and butter between your fingertips to get a breadcrumb-like consistency. Add ice cold water, just enough to hold the dough together. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While dough is chilling, work on casserole and preheat oven to 400°F.
- Rinse beans, remove ends, and chop longer beans in half. Bring about 6 C of salted water to a boil. Add beans, and blanch for 5 minutes, removing them promptly and stopping the cooking process by running the beans under cold water. Drain and set aside.
- Place garlic, celery, shallot, butter, salt, chile arbol, and cumin in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté until celery and shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour into half & half. Add vegetable broth to skillet, then immediately add half & half mixture to skillet (work quickly to add the dairy before the vegetable broth heats up too much). Stir to incorporate, then continue to cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once mixture has thickened almost to the consistency of canned cream of mushroom soup (the kind your gran uses in green bean casserole), remove from heat, and add green beans. Stir to coat beans in soup, then pour into two oven-safe ramekins or crocks.
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll it out to 1/8″ (3-4 mm) thickness on a lightly-floured surface using a lightly-floured rolling pin. Cut out two circles that are slightly larger than the tops of your ramekins or crocks.
- Place pie crusts onto ramekins. Scallop the edges, then brush with egg wash (1 egg white whisked with 2 T water). Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let cool 8-10 minutes before serving.