Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bonus Post: Reuben Strata!

If you have leftovers from your St. Patrick's Day feast like we did, you might be looking for something to do with extra corned beast, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and rye bread.  We thoroughly enjoyed our Reuben sandwiches, and were looking to extend the glory of the Reuben without having to put together such an elaborate sandwich every night for supper (yes, we really are that lazy busy).  Katie came to the brilliant realization that we had most of the ingredients for a strata, which we would typically make with ham, cheddar, and normal bread.  But why not make a Reuben-themed one?  Seemed like it could work!

The word 'strata' comes from the ancient Latin term meaning, 'out of the stratosphere,' indicating that this is a dish believed to come directly from heaven.  (Edit: Katie says, "Jake, you're full of baloney.  It's called strata because of the layers.")  Whatever the origin of the name, it's definitely a dish worth trying if you've got the right mix of leftovers.

Start with a layer of bread in the bottom of a 9" x 13" x 3" pan.  This recipe requires all 3" of height--if you use a shorter pan like we did, you'll have to make another mini-strata (which isn't all bad).  Make sure you cover every square inch of the bottom with bread, or you will get yelled at.
Shred ~1.25 pounds of Swiss cheese and 3 c. cooked corned beast.
On top of the bread, add layers of sauerkraut, corned beast, and Swiss cheese.  If you have a deep pan, try to use about half of each in the first layer.  If your pan is only 2" deep, use about a third.
Add a second layer each of bread, sauerkraut, beast, and cheese.  Make sure to put cheese on top, so it will get all melty and golden brown when you bake it.  You can see the second dish we had to use in order to fit everything in.
Make up a mixture of six beaten eggs, 3 c milk, and a half-teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, ground cloves, and dry mustard.  Pour the mixture as evenly as possible over the layers already in the cake pans, and refrigerate overnight (or at least several hours).  This recipe is modified from the original (best ever) ham strata recipe, which is a secret closely guarded by the Methodists of Waldo, WI.  If you want to know their recipe, join the church (quick, before Easter Sunday breakfast!) or wait until their cookbooks go on sale again. :-)
After the strata has hung out in your fridge for a while, bake it at 375 °F for 50-60 min until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cheese is golden brown.
Let it cool for at least 10 minutes when it comes out of the oven if you can, or it will probably get mangled when you try to take the first piece out of the pan (we couldn't wait, we were too hungry).  Top with Thousand Island dressing if you like, and serve with leftover boiled veggies from cooking your corned beast.
Have you made a strata from leftovers before?  What else have you done with St. Patty's Day leftovers?  Tell us about it in the comments section below!

2 loaves (9"x5"x4.5") of caraway rye "shortbread" (or less if the bread rose like it was supposed to), sliced
3 c. cooked and shredded corned beast
1.25 lb. shredded Swiss cheese
3 c. sauerkraut
6 eggs, beaten
3 c. milk, minus the juice from the sauerkraut
0.5 t. garlic powder
0.5 t. onion powder
0.5 t. ground black pepper
0.5 t. ground cloves
0.5 t. salt
0.5 t. ground mustard

Layer bread, sauerkraut, corned beast, and Swiss cheese in a 9" x 13" x 3" pan (or equivalent pan volume).  Mix eggs, milk, and spices together, pour evenly into pan.  Spices may fall to bottom of mixture, so re-mix frequently.  Chill overnight, or at least 6 hours.  Bake at 375 °F for 50-60 min until egg mixture is set (toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).

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