Shame on you for eating tomatoes in December, we say. Forgive you for you have eaten a peach in January. These are the rules we food people hold ourselves too: Thou shalt not eat out of season.
They’re good rules, mostly: Tomatoes suck in December where I come from; peaches are barely ghosts of themselves in the dead of winter. If we break our rules sneakily on occasion, year-round, we break them loudly and with abandon on Thanksgiving: On our northern tables, at least, we sin with corn pudding and with my aunt’s cherry-studded cranberry sauce. We sin with green bean casserole.
This recipe comes from Michael Solomonov (and his latest book Zahav), who riffed on green bean casserole in honor of the coinciding of Thanksgiving and the first day in Chanukah in 2013. This hadn’t happened in over 100 years, he writes in his headnote, and won’t for another 77,000, so if there ever was a time to upend grandma’s green bean recipe, it was then.
Let’s keep messing with tradition this year: Do as Solomonov does, and put tahini in your green bean casserole. And lentils, a whole mess of them, fried until brown and crispy with shards of garlic. And don’t bake any of it—just sauté and mix and plate and serve. No French’s fried onions, no Campbell’s cream of something soup. Take a deep breath. Remember: Thanksgiving is our Rumspringa. We are allowed to be doing this. What happens on Thanksgiving stays on Thanksgiving.
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup beluga lentils
- 2 shallots, one chopped, one thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup tehina
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- pinches black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups quartered button mushrooms
- 1/4 cup canola oil or other neutral, high-heat oil
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- A big squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh dill