This is a winter recipe utilizing dried vegetables/herbs and stored onions and garlic, but the mushrooms and herbs can be easily replaced with fresh in summertime (use one pound diced mushrooms and one teaspoon thyme leaves, sauté both with the onions and garlic, adding extra butter). The soup may be pureed, if desired. Roughly chopping, or hand crushing, the mushrooms into small pieces before putting into the soup is recommended for a chunkier, visible in the casserole, look and feel.
This may or may not be proper chef-ing technique but it far exceeds anything condensed soup has to offer. Not all the ingredients are required, a small yellow onion may be substituted for the shallots, the celery isn't key (the market doesn't seem to sell single stalks in bulk anymore), but adding the sherry and using a variety of mushrooms adds a wonderful richness and flavor. Albacore is the only the only white tuna available in the United States, but any tuna will work.
Ben's "Gore-met" Tuna Casserole
Ingredients: unsalted butter, shallots, celery, garlic, dried forest mushrooms, vegetable broth, sherry, thyme, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, traditional egg noodles, tuna
Melt two tablespoons butter in a medium sauce pan on medium-low. For a quality roux, clarified butter is recommended, but melting normal unsalted butter will work just fine. Mix in two tablespoons flour. It's important to keep the roux evenly mixed, especially when adding liquid, else clumps will form. Cook the roux until medium brown.
Add three tablespoons unsalted butter, 2-3 finely chopped shallots, 1 stalk finely chopped celery, and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic. Cook till tender, about five minutes.
Slowly stir in three cups vegetable broth. Add eight (8) ounces dried forest mushrooms, 1 tablespoon sherry, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, and course salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste (a generous pinch and a twist-twist-twist will do). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for a half hour or until mushrooms have absorbed sufficient amounts of broth. Remove the bay leaf. Remove from heat and stir in 1 pint cream.
In a bowl, shred 2 cans white tuna with fork and mix with soup. Put one-half pound traditional egg noodles, cooked according to directions but reducing time by one-fourth, in the bottom of the casserole. Pour soup/tuna over noodles and gently mix. Cover with foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
© Benjamin Pecka. 2011. All rights reserved.
This article was produced the Newsvine Photographers Foodies! challenge.