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Dry-Fried Green Beans and Mushrooms With Sizzled Onions

Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8
Dry-Fried Green Beans and Mushrooms With Sizzled Onions
The Sichuan technique of dry-frying adds life to Thanksgiving vegetables often weighted in a rich casserole.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times; prop styling by Kate Parisian)
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Instead of doing things the way they’ve always been done, here are recipes for Thanksgiving 2020 that throw tradition out the window — at least just this once — and show how the classics can be much easier — and more fun — when you focus on highlighting the qualities in each that really matter.

Though the title of this recipe calls for green beans, what you actually want to use are haricots verts, which are thinner and less hardy than American green beans. Haricots verts are ideal because they cook through inside at the perfect rate to get them lightly seared outside. However, if you want to use American green beans, you’ll want to first split them in half lengthwise. Or you can blanch them in boiling water for one minute, shock them in ice water, then spread them out to dry on paper towels before using them here so they get a head start in cooking.

As for frying the onions, be vigilant about cutting the slices to the same thickness. This ensures they cook evenly and in the time stated below without some pieces being burned while others are underdone. Once cooled, save the remaining oil used for frying the onions and use it to cook scrambled eggs, flavor salad dressings or cook other vegetables — or add it to the oil you need to fry the potato skins in the Once Baked Mashed Potatoes. And while it might seem like a background player in this dish, don’t underestimate the black pepper; it is essential in tying all the flavors together.

1

Using a microplane, grate the garlic into a small bowl (or finely mince it with a knife). Pour in the chicken broth, soy sauce, cornstarch and ¾ teaspoon pepper and stir to combine; leave the spoon in the bowl and reserve. Also, set a sieve over a heat-proof bowl.

2

Add the onions to a large skillet, separating them into individual pieces as best you can, then pour in the oil. Season the onions with salt, then place the pan over medium heat. Once the onions start to sizzle, continue cooking, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon, until they are dark golden brown and caramelized, 12 to 14 minutes. (Don’t rush this part or else the onions will fry too fast and turn bitter.) Immediately pour the onions and oil through the prepared sieve; reserve the oil. Spread the onions out on a double-thick layer of paper towels to drain. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

3

Return the skillet to high heat and pour 1 tablespoon of the hot oil back into the skillet. Immediately add half the haricots verts, season with salt and toss to coat in the oil. Settle the beans in the skillet in a single layer and then cook, only stirring and tossing every 60 seconds, until the beans are tender and blistered in spots on the outside, 5 to 6 minutes. While the beans cook, trim off any woody ends of mushrooms and separate them into individual pieces (or cut large pieces into strips roughly the thickness of the beans).

4

Transfer the cooked beans to a plate, then return the skillet to the heat, this time pouring in 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil. Add the remaining beans, toss to coat in oil, then let cook, tossing once halfway through, for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook the beans and mushrooms together, only stirring and tossing every 60 seconds, until both are tender and slightly blistered on the outside, 5 to 6 minutes more. Return the first batch of cooked beans to the skillet.

5

Stir the broth mixture again to redistribute the cornstarch, then pour it over the vegetables. Cook, tossing and stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and fully coats the beans and mushrooms, about 30 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the butter and stir until it melts and evenly coats the vegetables.

6

Using tongs, transfer the vegetables to a large serving platter and season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Scatter the fried onions over the top and serve immediately.

Variations:
Vegan Version
Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and use a vegan butter substitute, such as Miyoko’s, instead of butter.
Make Ahead:
The broth mixture and green beans can be prepped up to one day in advance; store in the refrigerator.