RECIPE: Crab meat, Old Bay lend tasty twist to classic green bean casserole

Crabby Old Bay Green Bean Casserole
Courtesy of Brooke Slezak
Crabby Old Bay Green Bean Casserole Courtesy of Brooke Slezak

Credit: Brooke Slezak

Credit: Brooke Slezak

Warm, hearty and comforting. That was the feeling I always got at the Thanksgiving table growing up. My Grandpa Frank found tremendous joy in bringing people together for the holiday – family members and stragglers who needed a place to call home. He was a proud WWII veteran with a big laugh who relished celebrating our blessings while sharing a bountiful spread of roasted turkey and bubbling casseroles.

A few years ago, just a few days before Thanksgiving, I met Tom Reilly. He was the spirit incarnate of Grandpa Frank. Tom and I had gathered to celebrate the life of his late wife, Dorcas Reilly, and her contribution to American food – the beloved green bean casserole.

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Tom Reilly (left) chats with food writer Chadwick Boyd. Reilly's late wife Dorcas Reilly is credited as the creator of the green bean casserole.
Courtesy of Laura Fuchs
Tom Reilly (left) chats with food writer Chadwick Boyd. Reilly's late wife Dorcas Reilly is credited as the creator of the green bean casserole. Courtesy of Laura Fuchs

Credit: Laura Fuchs

Credit: Laura Fuchs

At 93, Tom was quite spry and could tell a story that made you hold onto every word. I peppered him with questions, eager to hear stories about the woman who created America’s most searched Thanksgiving casserole.

Tom swooned about his bride and her humble recipe creation that, for years, they called “green bean bake” before it graced tables across the country. Tom felt my sincere appreciation for Dorcas and her dish. In that moment, he reached for my collar and affixed a special pin, officially inducting me into the 50-year Green Bean Casserole Club.

As millions of us make Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving, in a lot of ways, we all are members of the Green Bean Casserole Club. My version is an homage to Tom and Dorcas and to my family’s love for crab-stuffed mushrooms during the holidays. I toss fresh, lump crab meat with Parmesan and Old Bay and pile it on top of Dorcas' casserole base. Rather than store-bought onion rings, I fry shallots for a fresh, crispy-salty touch.

Crabby Old Bay Green Bean Casserole
Courtesy of Brooke Slezak
Crabby Old Bay Green Bean Casserole Courtesy of Brooke Slezak

Credit: Brooke Slezak

Credit: Brooke Slezak

Crabby Old Bay Green Bean Casserole
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 16-20 ounces frozen and thawed whole green beans
  • 1½ cups diced fresh mushrooms
  • 8 ounces lump crab meat
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced onion
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 6 medium shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 1¼ cups vegetable oil
  • Place the rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees.
  • Place the cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce and black pepper in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a large spoon. Add the green beans and mushrooms and stir until fully combined. Spoon into a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.
  • Add the crab meat, onion, lemon juice, Parmesan and 1½ teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning to a medium bowl. Mix well with a fork. Place on top of the green bean mixture and dot with the butter. Bake 25 minutes, until bubbling and slightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, place the shallots in a medium saucepan. Add the oil to cover. Cook on medium-low for 20-25 minutes until golden; use a fork to loosen the shallot rings. Line a plate with two sheets of paper towel. Transfer the shallots to the plate with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning. Scatter the shallots on top of the casserole and serve. Serves: 6.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 321 calories (percent of calories from fat, 67), 13 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 25 grams total fat (5 grams saturated), 47 milligrams cholesterol, 987 milligrams sodium.

Chadwick Boyd is a TV host, food and lifestyle expert, and author. Find more of his work at chadwickboydlifestyle.com.

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