Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tuna Surprise

No matter how hard I try, the pantry creep always gets me in the end. I try not to let it. I write up my menus every week before shopping, I inventory regularly, I do all the things those space saver shows say to do, but one day I open up the cupboard and I somehow have 8 cans of pumpkin that I don't remember buying and no room for my groceries. When that happens, I know it's time for a Tuna Surprise night.

Tuna Surprise has been a running joke between my wife and me. It's my generic term for the "whatever I have in the cupboard" casserole. It doesn't necessarily have to include tuna to be called Tuna Surprise. In fact, the lack of tuna is usually the surprise!

After finding the previously mentioned spontaneously generated 8 cans of pumpkin, I decided to whip up a Tuna Surprise to get rid of it all. We invited our friend Jalera over to join in the fun. She chose the "seriously weird" option, much to my wife's dismay, and here's what she got.

Tuna Surprise
1 can of pumpkin puree
1 can of green beans, drained
1 small can of water chestnuts, drained
1 large can of whole black olives, drained
1 can of Rotel, not drained
12 oz. of chorizo
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh herbs to taste (I used spearmint and thyme)
1 tsp. dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Sriracha
1 tsp. chili powder

Brown the chorizo, herbs, and olives until chorizo is fully cooked.
Combine the chorizo mixture, pumpkin, brown sugar, Rotel, and soy sauce in a bowl.
Mix the water chestnuts and Sriracha together and layer at the bottom of a greased baking dish.
Pour the pumpkin mixture over the top of the water chestnuts and smooth.
Pour the drained can of green beans over the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle the chili powder over the beans.
Top with the cheese and bake at 4oo degrees for 45 minutes.

This tastes nothing like you'd expect. The chorizo and the spices actually make the pumpkin taste a lot like refried beans. The water chestnuts give an interesting texture to the dish. The mint is there, but just barely. It actually turned out really good. Kind of like a taco pie but with the much higher nutrition of the pumpkin instead of the beans. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I'd also really like to hear your ideas for a Tuna Surprise.


  1. I was really surprised when he told me this had pumpkin in it. I really couldn't taste it at all.

  2. Yeah, but it was seriously good, if a little bit spicey for my taste! Eating it with tortilla chips helped alot.