We had an event at work last week for which we were all asked to contribute either a food item of our choice or money for food items of someone else’s choice. After thinking about my options, considering the knowledge that I would have to make this dish on an evening after work to take in the next morning, and spending a considerable amount of time wondering just how it could be re-heated and still be edible, I decided on Crock Pot Green Bean Casserole.
I’d never done that before, but I thought if I just didn’t bake it all the way, I could use the crock pot to finish cooking it the next day. Fortunately, I have one of those crock pots that uses a Dutch oven of sorts that can be lifted out of the electrical appliance and used directly on an oven rack.
Also, I’m a good cook. So what could possibly have gone wrong, right?
I lovingly diced a handful of raw bacon and fried it until crisp. I removed the bacon bits and put them into the Dutch oven, reserving the bacon grease to fry a fair amount of chopped onion, frying the onion fast and furious so that it would get those little brown crispies on the edges. When that was done all the onions went into the pot with the bacon.
For the mushrooms, I had to add about half a stick of butter because the onions had absorbed all the bacon fat. I sautéed the mushrooms for just a minute, scraping all the bacon bits that the onions didn’t get, and all the onions that the spoon didn’t get.
As soon as the mushrooms started to release some of their moisture, I dumped them into the pot.
I diced some ham and added it to the growing collection in the pot.
More butter in the same skillet and a little flour for the rue, some chicken broth and drippings from the ham, and heavy whipping cream made the sauce.
Salt and pepper.
Once nice and thick, the sauce went into the pot. Two bags of frozen French style green beans and I was nearly done.
Once everything had been combined, I sprinkled the top with a bread crumb topping and broiled it in the oven just until the top got golden. Everything else was still fairly cold. I covered the dish and put it in the fridge, hoping everything would be all right the next day.
My dish made it to work safely, but it didn’t look very good after having sat in the fridge all night. I plugged it in and checked the consistency. It was a little thicker than I wanted. ‘Gloopy’ is a good word.
Luckily I had thought of that ahead of time and brought a container of chicken broth to sort of thin it down a little, as needed, while it simmered slowly throughout the day.
It started to look better, more appetizing, and way less congealed.
At some point I added what turned out to be just a little too much broth. It was the dish’s undoing.
The sauce was superb, the green beans were not over-cooked, and the mushrooms were still firm and had held up through all the torture I’d given them. The onions, bacon, and ham were perfectly cooked and added the best ever flavor to this dish. The end product was very well seasoned and tasted absolutely amazing.
But it looked horrible.
Everyone was afraid of it. Hardly anyone dared try it. Those brave souls who did dare said they really liked it, but I ended up bringing most of it home with me.
I was disappointed and a little embarrassed.
If anyone near me had asked who made it, I probably would’ve spoken way too loudly in answer, denied all knowledge, and stuttered out an “I don’t know!” or a “Not me!” and sneaked in when no one was looking to retrieve my still-full crock pot.
I think next time I’ll just give money. It’s one-size-fits-all, always the perfect color, and goes well with everything.
And it never loses its glamour when re-heated.