This column has been updated to remove information about a Champagne sabering event at the Read House that has been canceled.
It's hard to imagine spending any St. Patrick's Day without a Reuben — unless you're cooking for a crowd. Then, it's a little difficult getting them off the griddle and on the plates so everyone can eat at the same time and the Reuben still be warm.
That's when a Reuben casserole comes in handy. It was a cold winter's day when I sat down and watched an entire YouTube cooking show. It's something I seldom do, but I love a Reuben, and the thought of making a Reuben casserole sounded quite appealing.
The recipe that I watched being made on YouTube was tremendous. It had three layers of rye bread slices and all of the typical Reuben ingredients -- Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. When all was said and done, it would easily serve eight to 10 people.
I wasn't too sure about those whole slices of bread. Wouldn't it be a little difficult to spoon it out onto plates without bringing an entire blob of soggy bread with it? Not too appetizing, if you ask me. So, wouldn't it be easier to cube the bread, then follow the recipe? Indeed, I discovered.
This is a recipe that is best prepared the day before as it soaks in the egg mixture. Leaving it in the refrigerator overnight also gives plenty of time for all the flavors to marry.
You can use corned beef from the deli, but I prefer making my own. It's a very simple dish to put together, but it's made even easier if you have all the ingredients laid out before you get started. It's a breeze to toss everything together, put it in the refrigerator and have it ready to pop in the oven the next afternoon.
As you plan your St. Patrick's Day menu, you might consider making this casserole and serving it alongside something green, whether it's a tossed salad or green peas. It is St. Patrick's Day after all.
10 slices rye bread, cubed (about 6 cups)
1 1/4 pounds thinly sliced corned beef, chopped
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles, optional
6 large eggs
2 cups evaporated milk
2/3 cup Thousand Island salad dressing
Dash garlic powder
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley
Place bread cubes in a greased 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Top with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and pickles. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, dressing and garlic powder. Pour over bread. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours or, preferably, overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove strata from refrigerator while oven heats. Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 5-10 minutes longer. Let stand 10-15 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.