Cheesy Smoky Green Bean Casserole

There’s not much difference between this and macaroni and cheese, but with green beans instead of macaroni.  I wanted to include some ham in with the green beans, but since the ham was cooking at the same time, I diced some tasso instead.  The sauce is your basic bechamel-based cheese sauce.  And who doesn’t love a bacon breadcrumb topping?

Green Beans

  • 2 lbs. haricots verts
  • ¼-½ lb tasso, diced

Blanch the green beans in boiling salted water for 5-6 minutes, then drain.  Combine the green beans and tasso in a 8×12″ casserole dish.

Cheese Sauce

  • 1 stick butter
  • 8 Tbs flour
  • ~1 cup cream
  • ~2 cups milk
  • ~2 cups grated cheese — I used a smoked gruyere, monterey jack, and cheddar
  • ~ 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the butter, cooking until browned.  Add the dairy and cook until it becomes a sauce.  Slowly add the cheese so that it melts in the sauce.  Add the salt and pepper and paprika to taste.

Pour the cheese sauce over the green beans and ham, and mix together.

Bacon Breadcrumb Topping

  • 4 strips thick-sliced bacon
  • 2-3 slices of bread
  • ~ 2 Tbs butter,
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the bacon until not-quite completely crispy.  Cut the butter into smaller pieces and add the butter, bread, bacon and salt and pepper to a food processer.  Pulse until chopped up and mixed.  Top the casserole with the mixture.

Bake the casserole at 400ºF for 10-15 minutes, until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbly.

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