Today the RFT's first-ever "Winter Flavor" issue hits the streets, and we couldn't be more excited about it. Food critic Cheryl Baehr rounded up the city's top chefs, bartenders and bakers, asking them to contribute a recipe that made them think of the winter holidays. The results were both tasty and enlightening.
But we're especially excited to share one of them with you — and that's Rick Lewis' recipe for green bean casserole. Acclaimed for his new Midtown restaurant Southern, Lewis is one of the city's top chefs — but he's also about as far from stuffy as you can get. Naturally, his recipe doesn't use any of that canned cream of mushroom crap — but it's also neither pretentious nor ironic. It's just really damned tasty.
See also: Introducing Winter Flavor 2015 — and Recipes from All Your Favorite St. Louis Chefs
So here's Lewis in his own words, followed by the recipe he shared with us. For more recipes and more winter flavor, pick up a copy of the issue — or check this website in the coming days as we continue to share more highlights.
Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole is a huge hit at our holiday get-togethers. It was a childhood favorite of mine, and I make it all of the time now at my restaurants. This is the way we do it from scratch. — Rick Lewis
2 pints cream
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1 garlic clove
10 oz. assorted mushrooms (oysters, shiitakes, cremini)
1 pound fresh green beans
3 cups chicken broth
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, sliced thinly with a mandolin
Directions Take two pints of cream and reduce by a third with bay leaf, thyme sprig, garlic clove, and mushrooms.
After the liquid is reduced and the mushrooms are cooked, season with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and purée in a blender till smooth. Set aside.
Trim one pound of fresh green beans down to bite-size pieces and blanch in salted chicken broth till tender, then shock in ice water. Set aside.
Make seasoned flour with paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, and flour. Then heat oil in a Dutch oven to 350. Dredge sliced onions in the flour and fry until crispy and golden brown. Season with salt.
Now you're ready to assemble the casserole. Toss blanched green beans with your mushroom cream soup and salt and pepper. Place the green bean bean mixture in a casserole dish. Grate asiago cheese all over the top and sprinkle the fried onions on top of that. Bake at 350 until hot, bubbly, and golden brown.
For more recipe highlights, pick up a copy of Winter Flavor, which is on the streets today wherever Riverfront Times is distributed.