Delicata-Green Bean Gratin

Green Bean Casserole with all natural ingredients.  This recipe puts the onions at the bottom of the dish, where they get caramelized and crispy without having to fry them.  You can either make this with the traditional white Bechamel sauce, or leave it out and simply top the casserole with cheese.

Trim 1/2 lb. green beans.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then parboil the green beans until the water returns to a rolling boil.  Drain and rinse to cool.

Dice 1 C. of cremini mushrooms, then saute in 1 T. olive oil and 1 t. butter.  When the mushrooms begin to shrink, add a pinch of thyme leaves and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook until the mushrooms are nicely browned.  Remove from the pan.

(Optional Bechamel Sauce:  Add 1 T. butter to the pan, then add 1 T. flour and whisk to combine.  Continue whisking over low heat until the roux begins to brown, about 4 minutes, then add 1/2 C. each milk and cream.  Raise heat to a simmer and whisk continuously until the sauce is thick.  Season with salt and pepper.)

Cut 1 large or 2 smaller Delicata squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Cut the squash in thin slices lengthwise, then chop into smaller pieces.  Toss in a bowl with 1 t. olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Peel and thinly slice 2 onions.  Butter the bottom of a pyrex baking dish, then cover the bottom with the onions.

Combine the beans, mushrooms and squash in a casserole dish.  Pour the sauce over it and then cover with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 15 minutes, until the edges are brown.

If you are not using the white sauce, top the casserole with 1/2 C. or more of grated gruyere cheese when you uncover it.

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