Everyone who makes tuna casserole makes it a different way. There are recipes that use egg noodles (like this one), and there are recipes that use potato chips. Some use a can of cream of mushroom, while others user cream of chicken. The recipe that I like to use starts off with a roux and builds up to a rich and creamy filling of noodles, tuna, and aromatic herbs. The final topping of bread crumbs keeps the top of the casserole from drying out while giving it a pleasant tasting crust.
This recipe is one of the few that survived the "Outlook-Palm Purge". I don't know where I got this recipe, but it seems to be a winner because I don't recall ever getting a complaint when I prepare it.
Start by assembling 12 ounces of light tuna packed in spring water, 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 2-1/4 cup whole milk, 4 oz. sliced button mushrooms, 1/2 cup chopped scallions (also called green onions), 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. I prefer to use light tuna (usually made with yellowfin and skipjack tuna) for it's milder taste and softer texture than albacore. There will be significantly less than 12 ounces of tuna after we drain the water from the fish, so go ahead and drain the tuna at this point. [IMG]
Get some water boiling when it comes to a boil cook 8 oz. egg noodles according to the directions on the bag. Once the noodles are cooked, remove from the cooking water and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Melt four tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. [IMG]
Add flour to the butter and stir for about two minutes. [IMG]
The mixture, called a roux, should become smooth and thick during the two minutes. [IMG]
Add milk slowly to the to the roux while stirring. Continue stirring until the milk thickens. The milk mixture will easily coat the back of your spoon when you dip you spoon in and not flow off quickly when it begins to thicken. [IMG]
Stir until evenly mixed. This is a good time to salt and pepper the sauce. I don't actually measure the amount of salt or pepper that I use for this dish, so I add salt and pepper to taste. Add some salt and pepper, stir, and taste. Repeat as necessary. [IMG]
Pour noodles and sauce into the bowl and mix until evenly distributed. Pour everything into a greased 8x8 inch baking pan or 1.5 quart casserole. [IMG]
At this point, you can refrigerate the casserole for up to a couple days without baking it. I cover it with plastic wrap and press the wrap directly onto casserole so no film will form during refrigeration. [IMG]
When you're ready to serve the casserole, prepare one cup of bread crumbs. I used store bought bread crumbs with herbs in this picture, but I've also used rushed crackers and plain bread crumbs from white bread successfully. [IMG]
Melt four tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the bread crumbs. Stir until the bread crumbs turn a golden brown color. [IMG]
Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the casserole making sure you cover most of the surface. Any bits of noodle sticking up will dry out and not be tasty, so make sure the noodles are down and covered. Bake at 350°F for thirty minutes (or until the edges begin to bubble). [IMG]
Cut the casserole after you let it cool for a few minutes. [IMG]
The casserole is flavorful, but not so complex that you can't taste the individual components. A great hot and hearty dinner for the upcoming autumn and winter. [IMG]
This doesn't exactly pertain to this post, but I just wanted to let you know, as an engineer, and a college student you're recipes are great. For those of us that really suck at cooking, your recipes give really great description on how to not screw things up, and do it all with the least amount of trouble. Definetly going to visit your blog on a regular basis
Like you say, everyone who makes tuna casserole makes it a different way. Imagine my surprise when, after twenty years of eating my mom's tuna casserole, I found out that EVERYONE else in the world makes it with noodles. My family makes it with white rice. I'm still too disoriented to evaluate other tuna casseroles!
Yours looks pretty yummy, though. I might just have to take the plunge and give noodles a try.
How does "All-purpose" flour compare to the UK's "Plain flour"? I ask, because I have seen American recipes use "all-purpose" for some breads. In the UK, only "strong" flour has adequate gluten/protein to use in leavened bread.
Any idea how the gluten / protein content compares?
I've just had a look at some flour, "plain" = 9.7g protein per 100g, "strong" = 11.7g protein per 100g.
Joined: 10 May 2005 Posts: 1639 Location: Austin, TX (USA)
Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:40 am Post subject:
I wrote an article on flour because of your question. The answer to your question is that plain flour is almost the same as all-purpose flour (only with regional variation). Most breads are made with bread flours, but a number of recipes for all-purpose flour have appeared because most American households only keep all-purpose flour around. It makes a reasonable bread, but doesn't have enough protein for a good french or italian bread.
I like the end result there, I could live with that. My kids won't touch tuna though, I'm out of that loop. Which is why sometimes I end up making two complete meals for dinner, sigh.
do you have to tell them it's tuna? Often as I was a kid I would instantly hate every food I hadn't had before. If I was kept out of the loop of the ingredients prior to tasting, I would love the dish, even after being told what was in it.
"Like you say, everyone who makes tuna casserole makes it a different way."
Decades later, I found out that what my mother called "Macaroni and cheese" is the garden variety Tuna Casserole made with canned tuna, macaroni, American cheese slices, cream of mushroom soup and sometimes crushed potato chips on top.
Being a cheese lover, I add even more cheese in the body of the casserole, not merely on top, and add frozen mixed vegetables to make it more of a one-course meal.
Buttered bread crumbs on top sounds like a nice variation from the slightly browned melted cheese, though!
I like your recipe for tuna caserole starting with a roux is a great idea. My question pertains to the roux though. I alwasy start my soups with a roux, but I'll saute the veggies in butter before adding flour, and later milk or chicken base. I was wondering why you add the flour before the veggies?
Tuna casserole is one of those dishes that I have never like, but for some reason thought that I should. Came across this recipe and it sounded 'different', so I thought I should give a try.
After making tonight, my opinion of this dish has changed. The version of the tuna casserole is really good, and my family agrees. I served with green peas on the side, but next time I think I will add them into the casserole.
Thanks for posting it.
I do have a site request also. It would be really nice if we could just print out the recipe card, without all the directions. Your table format is enough to cook from.
Came out great! Kind of reminds me of the frozen Stouffer's Tuna Casserole - without the bellyache from their preservatives! I stirred the white sauce into the veggies to get up all the flavorful pan brownings under the veggies.