When I opened up my link to the Pioneer Woman’s blog today and saw this recipe, I knew it would be on my table next Thursday. I have never been a real fan of the “casserole” that America feels like it is not really Thanksgiving without this sitting on the table beside the sweet potatoes. Thanks Pioneer Woman for upping the image of the infamous casserole. You are a winner in my books, as I know this dish will be.
- 2 pounds Fresh Green Beans, Ends Cut Off
- 4 slices Bacon, Cut Into 1/4 Inch Pieces
- 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1/2 whole Large Onion, Chopped
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- 4 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
- 2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
- 1/2 cup Half-and-half
- 1-1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
- 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 jar (4 Ounce) Sliced Pimentoes, Drained
- Extra Milk For Thinning If Necessary
- 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
Cut green beans in half if you like pieces to be a little smaller.
Blanch the green beans: drop them into lightly salted boiling water and allow green beans to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain beans once they’re cool and set aside.
Add bacon pieces to a skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon for two minutes, then add diced onion and garlic and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bacon is done (but not crisp) and onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk immediately to evenly mix it into the butter. Cook for a minute or two, then pour in milk and half and half. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, while sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne then add the grated cheddar. Stir while cheese melts. Turn off heat.
Add pimentos to pan, then add bacon/onion mixture. Stir to combine. Pour over green beans and stir gently to combine. Pour into a baking dish and top with panko crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and panko crumbs are golden.