This past Thanksgiving I finally conquered my gluten free Mt. Everest – green bean casserole. Frying the onions wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, thanks to the advice in this post and our little electric fondue pot. This recipe makes enough onions for a 9″x13″ casserole, but I decided to make a half recipe since it was for our little family of four. I froze the rest of the onions on a baking sheet, then transferred them to a bag to save for our Christmas dinner.
2013 Update: The onions freeze well and just need to be reheated in a warm oven to crisp them up before adding to the casserole. Even though the cream of mushroom soup is not hard to make, if you can find Progresso’s GF Creamy Mushroom Soup, it works really well when brought to a boil with 1 T. GF flour to thicken it a little before mixing with the green beans. (I added 1/8 tsp. pepper to mine this past Thanksgiving.) However, the homemade version can be made with rice milk for dairy free folks, so it’s a good one if you have multiple sensitivities in your home. Happy Gluten Free Holidays!
Gluten Free French Fried Onions
1 med. onion (I used a sweet onion, but any should work)
1 1/2 c. milk (I used rice milk)
1 c. GF flour blend
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (omit if using a blend containing xanthan gum)
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Slice onion into thin rings. Halve the slices so that you have what looks like little rainbows. Separate rings and cut outer 3 or 4 pieces in half, so you have uniform sized pieces. (Set aside a few rings to chop for the cream of mushroom soup, if making the recipe below.)
Beat egg and milk in a medium bowl. Add onions and soak until oil is heated.
In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, xanthan gum and pepper. Heat about 1-in. of oil to 375 degrees in an electric fondue pot or med. high on the stove. (When you’re ready to fry – the oil will sizzle and pop when you flick a drop of water into it – turn down the temperature to 350 degrees or medium heat on the stove.)
While you wait for the oil to heat, line a couple plates with paper towels and gather your utensils. I recommend using a fork to transfer the onions from the milk mixture to the flour, and using chopsticks to coat them with flour and transfer to the oil. We used tongs to transfer the onions from the oil to paper towels. Having separate utensils for each step keeps them from accumulating thick clumps of dough.
When the oil is ready, turn it down to medium and begin coating about 1/4 c. of the onions in flour, then dropping them in the oil. Use tongs to turn onions over after a few minutes, then continue frying until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to cool. Continue until all onions are fried. Set aside while you make the soup. (I’d store them at room temperature, rather than in the fridge, so they don’t get soggy.)
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Cream of Mushroom Soup
(Equals approx. 1 can of soup – double recipe if making a 9″x13″ casserole.)
4 T. butter or dairy free margarine
1 T. finely chopped onion
6 T. GF flour blend with a pinch of xanthan gum (I used Gluten Free Pantry’s blend)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 c. milk (I used rice milk)
1 c. GF chicken broth OR 1 c. water with 1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon
1/4 c. chopped mushrooms OR half of a drained 4 oz. can of mushrooms
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté onions in butter until soft but not brown. (If using fresh mushrooms, sauté them with the onions. DO NOT try to sauté canned mushrooms or they will jump out of the pan!)
Whisk in flour, salt and pepper, stirring constantly until a bubbly paste forms. (If using Better Than Bouillon instead of broth, you can stir in the bouillon during this step and just add water instead of broth.) Gradually whisk in the milk and broth (or water). Stir constantly until you have a nice, thick soup. Stir in mushrooms.
To use this soup in the traditional green bean casserole recipe, you may skip the step of adding extra milk, since this is not as concentrated as the canned soup to begin with, or add milk until it’s the desired consistency. Add 2 cans green beans and desired seasonings according to whatever recipe you traditionally use (some add 1/8 tsp. pepper or soy sauce), stirring in 2/3 c. of your fried onions.
Transfer to a greased baking dish and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then top with another 2/3 c. onions and bake 5 minutes. Serves 4-6.