Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spicy Tuna Casserole

Who said comfort food had to be bland and boring? Here's my hot & spicy version of a classic tuna casserole. You'll want to start this recipe at least a couple of hours before you plan on serving it, because it needs to sit in the fridge for 1 to 3 hours, and then bake for about an hour. Serves 6 (and leftovers freeze well).

1 can (9 to 10 oz) water-packed tuna, drained
5 cups cubed day-old bread (white or wheat)
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1 tsp finely chopped jalapeno pepper
2 Tbs finely chopped onion
4 eggs (or the equivalent in egg substitute)
1 can (10 3/4 cup) condensed cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
1 1/4 cup milk (you can use skim or low-fat)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (regular or low fat)
Dash or two (or to taste) jalapeno hot sauce*
2 Tbs melted butter
Optional garnish: Chopped cilantro or parsley

Place 2 cups of the bread cubes in an 8x8x2 baking dish. Mix together the tuna, peppers and onion in a bowl and then spoon evenly over the bread in the baking dish. Top with 2 more cups of bread cubes. In a large bowl beat the eggs, and then mix in the milk, soup, mayo and jalapeno hot sauce. Pour this mixture evenly over the tuna mixture, then cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Remove casserole from refrigerator and uncover. Toss the remaining cup of bread cubes with the melted butter and then sprinkle evenly on top of the ingredients in the dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325F for about 1 hr or until a knife inserted near the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let rest about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley if desired.

*Jalapeno hot sauces: Here are some tasty jalapeno hot sauces that work well in this recipe:
Burning Asphalt Jalapeno Hot Sauce from upstate NY, with a pleasant medium burn and southwestern flavor
Dave's Gourmet Hurtin' Jalapeno Sauce, seasoned with cilantro and chayote, all-natural, with medium heat
El Yucateco Jalapeno Hot Sauce, made in Mexico and with straightforward jalapeno flavor and medium-hot heat
Iguana Mean Green Hot 'n Tasty Jalapeno Pepper Sauce, a savory Costa Rican hot sauce with medium heat
Melinda's Jalapeno Pepper Sauce, an all-natural tangy jalapeno hot sauce with medium-hot fire
Mile High Hot Sauce, a NC original made with red ripe jalapenos for richer flavor, with medium hot heat

Zestfully yours,

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