Pecan Crusted Baked Green Beans with Ham n’ Cheese

created by Lindsay Jones

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If your holiday menu always includes a green bean casserole, then you will love this hearty version of an American classic. Fresh greens beans are baked with succulent pieces of FARMER JOHN® Original Ham Steaks, shallots, and Gruyère cheese in a creamy velouté sauce and topped with a pecan crust studded with roasted bits of ham.

Cook Time: 1 hr 45 min

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients

Beans and Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans, ends trimmed and cut into thirds, crosswise
  • 3 tbs. butter
  • 2 cups crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or almond, soy, or regular milk)
  • FARMER JOHN® Original Ham Steak 6 oz., diced and divided
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
Topping:
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tbs. butter, slightly softened
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped pecans

Directions

FOR TOPPING: In food processor fitted with steel blade, pulse bread, butter, sugar, thyme, and pepper together until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 12 pulses. Add pecans and pulse an additional 5-6 pulses. Transfer to large bowl and set aside.

FOR BEANS: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400ºF. Over high heat, bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven or large pot. Prepare a large bowl of ice water; set aside. Add beans to boiling water and cook until bright green and tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain beans in colander and place immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Spread beans on baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.

FOR SAUCE: Add butter to Dutch oven or large pot and melt over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, shallots, pepper, thyme, and cayenne and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add coconut milk, stir to combine, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to about 2 3/4 cups; 8-10 minutes.

Add green beans and 1 1/2 cups diced ham to mushroom sauce and stir until evenly coated. Add Gruyère cheese and stir until just combined. Add vinegar and fold into bean mixture. Arrange in even layer in 3-quart (or 13 by 9-inch), oven-safe casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle with pecan topping and remaining diced ham, then and bake until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling around edges, about 15-20 minutes. Serve while piping hot and enjoy a fresh take on a family favorite.