Green Beans with Mushrooms, Cream and Toasted Breadcrumbs

In a recent issue of the Fine Cooking magazine there was an article on "Cooking Green Beans For More Flavour". The technique involves heating oil or butter in a pan, adding aromatic ingredients like onion, and then adding the green beans along with a liquid, simmering the beans just long enough for them to collapse and slightly wrinkle.
We had only ever steamed beans and added seasoning or sauce before this. This is well worth the effort!

1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cups olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tbsp. butter
8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 tsp. salt

 

Heat oven to 375º F. Toss the bread crumbs in a bowl with the olive oil and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and toast until golden, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and onion. Increase the heat to high to reheat the pan and then drop the heat back to medium. When the mushrooms are slightly golden, add the salt. Sauté until the mushrooms are deep golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, green beans and 3/4 tsp. pepper. Add the broth or water and simmer, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced by about 3/4ths and the beans are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the cream and simmer until the sauce is reduced to a very thick consistency, about 10 minutes. Serve the beans and sauce topped with the toasted breadcrumbs.