The responsible thing to do right now is to stay put, so that’s what the Blue Apron Test Kitchen is doing. Just because we’re cooped up at home, that doesn’t mean we’re not cooking. For now, you’ll find us in our home kitchens, chopping, frying, and baking up a storm. 

This week, Chef Jessica Halper pulled out her Bubby’s cookbook and found a surprising pantry recipe:

Yes — you read that title correctly. In an effort to get the best “bang for my buck” and maintain sanity during these trying times, I am cooking through my Bubby’s recipe collection. The recipes skew Eastern European (no surprise there). They’re inexpensive, comforting, and utilize lots of canned goods — great for a cold winter’s night, and great for a pandemic. The ingredients showcase pantry staples, which can typically be found hiding in my cupboards or on the back shelf of any bodega. While the fresh aromatics and herbs add a bright touch, they can always be substituted for their dried counterparts.

pantry recipe staples
A pantry party

This daring recipe comes from her 1968 B’nai Brith Cookbook, and supposedly includes “family favorites” like gefilte fish, potato kugel, Chinese stew, and “Norene’s famous cheesecake”  —who’s Norene? I’ve updated the ingredient list to be a touch more modern, but rest assured, the recipe still uses a can of cream of mushroom soup.

cream of mushroom soup
A pantry classic in all its glory

So how did this vintage delight hold up in modern times? While we’re only a party of two, and we’re currently confined to the couch, our reviews were full of surprise and delight. The finished croquettes were pleasingly refined, delightfully weird and, best of all, pantry proof. As my boyfriend succinctly put it: “Hmm – this is actually really good.” 

Cream of Mushroom Tuna Croquettes

With pickle chive mayo

Makes 5 croquettes 

  • 1 5-oz can of tuna, drained
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced separating the white bottoms from the green tops
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of cornichons or other pickled items, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of chives, thinly sliced (optional) 

In a large bowl, combine the tuna, white scallion bottoms, ½ cup breadcrumbs, egg, soup and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mix to thoroughly combine and form into 5 evenly shaped patties. Coat in the remaining breadcrumbs.

pantry recipe: pickle chive mayo
Pickle chive mayo

In a medium pan (nonstick if you have one), heat the canola oil until a breadcrumb sizzles on contact. Add the patties and cook, 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. After they’re done, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and generously sprinkle with salt. 

While the patties cook, combine the mayonnaise, chopped pickles, the remaining lemon juice and the sliced chives if using. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve the croquettes alongside the pickle chive mayo. Garnish with the green scallion tops, or simply dig in.

Fried and ready to eat