Culinary Inspiration for Your Holiday Meal
It’s the time of year that we all look forward to. As the holidays approach, many of us will be searching online for something new to prepare for our holiday meals. If you are in search of some culinary inspiration, Tim Downs, executive chef at Knoebel Events in the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, may have a fresh take on a traditional side dish for you.
Located inside the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, Knoebel Events hosts hundreds of events every year. Ranging from small occasions to larger wedding receptions, the student staff, led by Downs, does more than $1 million in business each year.
Many of the students coming into the program have no experience working in a kitchen. However, by the time they graduate, they have the opportunity to manage a kitchen by handling ordering and schedules; they participate in menu development and some students even create their own dishes.
For this year’s holiday dish, Downs created something new: bacon-wrapped green beans with mushroom cream sauce.
Bacon Wrapped Green Beans with Mushroom Cream Sauce – Serves 10-12
- 2 lbs. fresh green beans
- 12-13 slices of thick sliced bacon
- olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- brown sugar (optional)
- 1 lb. cremini mushrooms
- 2 tbl. chopped garlic
- 1 tbl. olive oil
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ tbl. chopped rosemary
- ½ tbl. chopped thyme
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup heavy cream
- favorite store-bought fried onions
- chopped parsley
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the green beans on a cutting board and ensure the ends are trimmed and free of both tips. Leave them long. Clean them with running water.
- Lightly cover the green beans with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Eyeball the green beans into about 10-12 portion size bundles.
- Lay out several strips of bacon placing the green beans closest to you on the bacon and about 1/3rd of the way from the end of the beans and bacon.
- Roll the green beans inside the bacon moving your way down the green bean as your roll to create as much of a one-layer affect with the bacon down the green bean bundle. If the bacon is just rolled over itself, the bacon will not cook properly on the inside. The bacon will overlap some, but as little as possible is the goal.
- Place bacon and green bean bundle on a lined baking sheet. You can prepare up to this step a day or two before you are ready to bake — a great time saver.
- Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top if you wish. This is not necessary but adds a little dimension to the dish.
- Place bacon and green beans in oven to cook. Please see note below on how long.
- In a saucepan or small sauce pot, begin heating up the oil for the sauce.
- Add garlic and thin sliced mushrooms to the hot oil being careful not to splash hot oil.
- Continue to cook until all the liquid is out of the mushrooms.
- Add white wine. This is called deglazing. Allow white wine to almost completely reduce.
- Add 1 ½ cups of the heavy cream and fresh herbs and reduce by 1/3.
- Reduce heat to very low and stir in cream cheese. Once this step is done you must wait for the bacon to completely cook.
- It is your preference on how well you would like the bacon done but, allow at least 30-40 minutes for the bacon to cook if not longer depending on your oven and degree of doneness.
- Once you pull the bacon out, turn up the heat on the sauce to medium and bring the sauce back to a simmer while stirring. Add the remaining ½ cup of cream and stir in to "loosen slightly".
- Spoon sauce on a serving platter reserving some for the top.
- Lay out bacon and green bean bundles over top of the sauce, spooning the remainder of the sauce over top.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and fried onions.