Posted on October 26, 2013
Dehydrated Mum’s Tuna Casserole
Our dehydrated camp meal stash was decreasing so we’ve started adding to it again in preparation for next year. As Jess just made a new batch of Veggie Curry, I decided to make another round of Mum’s Tuna Casserole, the old classic that came with us to Big Bear and ended up powering Noleen Read on her PCT Thru Hike after we gave her some at Tahquitz Peak. Here’s the recipe:
- Brown rice
- An onion
- Some garlic
- Couple of carrots (an even number)
- An odd number of sticks of celery
- Multiple eggs (should be a prime number)
- Lots of cans of tuna (one more than you think)
- Most of a bottle of white wine (some goes in the casserole too)
- Parmesan cheese or any other kind of cheese
- Way too much black pepper
- Veggie bouillon
- Soy milk (it’s what we had in the fridge)
- Flour (we had whole wheat, no worries)
- A couple of generous shakes of frozen peas
- Many mushrooms
- You know, herbs and stuff
First, get the rice going. It’s not rocket science, bro. Pour the rice in the pot, twice as much water by volume, put it on the stove (don’t forget the lid), set burner to max. When it boils over, turn it down to minimum. DO NOT LOOK AT THE RICE. Opening the lid will make it inedible. Think positive thoughts, have faith and leave the damn lid on. Set a timer for 20 minutes and move on to the next thing (after reading the next sentence). When the timer dings, turn it off, leaving the lid on.
Now for the main event. Yes, you can do this. You are going to be making a kind of thick white sauce. Someone said this is called a bouillabaisse but that doesn’t seem right to me and anyway something so posh has no place at a campsite. So we will call it a thick white sauce. Problem?
Chop up all the onion and garlic. You’re making this to dehydrate so those bits better be small or it’ll never dry enough. Power through it but don’t get happy because there are heaps of other things you will need to cut. Stay focused. Put a huge pot on the stove and heat it up a bit with some butter inside. Then chuck all the chopped onions and garlic in there. It should start smelling pretty good but don’t eat it just yet.
Once you’re wondering if it’s ‘browned’ (not actually brown), you have probably overdone it, so get to work. Put a tiny bit of flour and a swish of milk in the pot and beat it quickly with a whisk. Get it all soaked in and add a bit more milk and flour. Keep adding milk and flour but only a little bit, you maniac. Don’t be so reckless – if you add too much it will clump up and be chunky which will make your hiking partner hate you as they spit a lump of sticky flour in your face after climbing over a 14,000 foot pass all day in the rain.
Build it up! Keep adding flour and milk, flour and milk. Beat it! Heck, you made it this far, why not throw some wine in there? One for the pot, one for me. Two for the pot, one, two for me etc.
How about those mushrooms? In between building up the thick white sauce, chop up a bunch of mushrooms and throw them in. May as well get the carrots and celery in there too. Oh and the tuna. If it’s looking a bit dry, just throw all the tuna can water in there too. Throw the bouillon in there for good measure. Three wines for the pot, one, two, three for me etc etc.
The kitchen should be smelling pretty good now. Go ahead, take a lick. Good? Could be better you’re thinking. No worries, add some herbs and sh*t. Maybe grate some parmesan cheese in there. More! More cheese! More wine!
Add the eggs, champ. Wait a minute, did you forget to boil the eggs? Go back and boil the eggs and then chop them up and add them you big dummy.
The rice was done a while ago right? Mix it all together, casserole and rice. If you have enough, now would be a good time to eat some for dinner.
Set the rest on some dehydrator sheets. Dry it on a relatively high temperature for as long as it takes to dry. Again, it’s not brain surgery.
Once you think it’s dry, investigate for dryness. If you can’t quite tell, get a flashlight and really take a good hard look at it. Then put it in bags and freeze. Good for a couple of years!
You might want to start it rehydrating about 30 minutes to an hour from camp. Just cover it with water and put it back in your pack (in a waterproof container). When you get to camp, cover the mixture with water in your pot, boil until the veggies taste almost right, then eat it!