Mains, Yummy Recipes

Of The Saucepan Licking Variety : Creamy Tuna and Vegetable Mornay


Picture me sneaking into the kitchen under the guise of cleaning up the dinner mess, to loom suspiciously over the now empty saucepan and scrape the last little bits of the sauce onto a teaspoon and into my mouth.  Sadly some meals are just too tasty to wash down the drain, even if it’s only a measly teaspoons worth.  Tuna Mornay (Aussie style Tuna Casserole) has always been pot-scrapingly good in my books.  Unfortunately it didn’t fit into our healthier lifestyle so I hadn’t cooked up a batch in years.  Back in the early years of married life I made Tuna Mornay an awful lot and it was always heavy on the cheese, butter and pasta and had zero veggies on the side.

Out of desperation this week (our fridge has died yet again and we’re awaiting a replacement part) I needed something to make for dinner that didn’t involve any refrigerated meat.  The fridge has been at 12 degrees celsius for a few weeks now which has been just fine for vegetables but too risky for dairy or meat products.  We keep our cheddar cheese in the freezer which is fortunately still working (for now, it’s a side by side fridge-freezer so I have no faith in the other half hanging in there for ever).

In this recipe I used UHT Dairy Free Cream but you can use milk or single cream.  Leave the cheese out if you’d like (I separated out a portion for Master 6 and I before adding the cheese) but the cheesy version is pretty awesome if you can justify the extra fat/calories/dairy.

This meal did not photograph all that pretty.  It totally makes up for its ugly in creamy deliciousness!

The veggies I used are a nice combo of a bit of bite, colour and flavour but you could easily switch them out with ingredients you have on hand (eg. frozen peas instead of corn).

Ingredients for Creamy Tuna and Vegetable Mornay

In a saucepan, heat the oil or butter.  Throw in the chopped onion, red pepper, celery, carrot and crushed garlic (I also threw in a little extra parsley but I probably wouldn’t bother next time around, I’ll just stick with the parsley added later on in the recipe)

Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables have begun to soften (about 10 minutes)

* At this point if you’re in the same boat as me you might need to have a word with your furry friend about the pot containing vegetables NOT the tuna he caught a wiff of from the other end of the flat

Add the flour and stir for a minute

Remove from heat and stir in the milk or cream.  Then place your saucepan back on the heat and bring to a boil, simmering gently until the sauce has thickened

Stir in the canned or frozen corn kernels, tuna (including the brine), chopped parsley, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of paprika, a pinch of nutmeg and the Tablespoon of whole grain mustard (this is one of the rare occasions when less is definitely more…don’t add extra mustard!  It will drown out the other flavours)

Heat until all the ingredients are heated through and you’re happy with how thick the sauce is (take particular care if using frozen veggies that they cook through).  If using cheese then drop that in and stir until it’s deliciously melty

Taste test your sauce (don’t get carried away, I could totally take the whole darn lot into a dark corner and go nuts with a dessert spoon) and add salt and pepper to taste

Once you’re happy with the flavour you’re done!

This first pic is minus the cheese (I had mine with a side salad)

The rest of the family had theirs with wholemeal spaghetti.  Try yours stirred through any kind of pasta you’re in the mood for or with rice.  You could also make it into a pasta bake in a casserole dish with macaroni or penne, a sprinkle of bread crumbs, extra cheese and bake in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.  I could even picture this as a toasted/grilled sandwich filling (think tuna melt) or simply on a piece of buttered toast (yum!)

* My recipe is inspired by the recipe’s here and here

7 thoughts on “Of The Saucepan Licking Variety : Creamy Tuna and Vegetable Mornay”

    1. naaw, Eddie is a Sweet Heart 🙂 Who wouldn’t love a tabby cat?

      Thank you 🙂 It’s one of my favourite meals at the moment (I might be a little over-eager but boy do I love my food ;)).

  1. I love that tuna melt idea!! With a side of soup! I love casseroles, my family, not so much. But I do sneak one in now and then! I may just sneak this one in!

    I have a tabby, too! Tigger. And they look extrememly alike! Even the uneven white on the nose! Eddie is Tigger’s English cousin!

    1. Don’t let Eddie hear you calling him English! He earned every freckle on his aging button nose and the tips of those slightly torn ears in the blazing Aussie sun 😉 Nah, you’re probably right…he’s seen enough ice, snow and squirrels to have gained kitty-british citizenship.

      I have noticed how much our cat’s look alike 🙂 You’d have to look twice if they were sitting side-by-side.

      Yeah I’m salivating over the tuna melt idea too…if only I wasn’t hopelessly addicted to carbs, *sniff*. Love the soup on the side idea!

      1. You mean you brought kitty all the way over from Australia? WOW! My apologies….Tig may have an Aussie cousin afterall!
        Oh, those damn carbs! I hear ya. Those or sweets! I have a terrible sweet tooth.

        1. We did 🙂 It cost a small fortune but he’s our first baby so we couldn’t imagine a household without our Eddie in it (he’s a good little mouser too, I wonder if English mice taste different to Aussie ones?).

          Sugar has to be one of the most addictive substances human’s consume! I get physical withdrawals the first few days when I cut out all sugar (think cranky crazy lady Jonesing for a chocolate bar).

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