Reuben Sandwich Casserole

A lot of people are familiar with Reuben sandwiches. For those of you who aren’t, they’re the ones that are made with sauerkraut, corned beef (sometimes pastrami), Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and rye bread.

I’ve had my share of restaurant Reubens over the years,  but my preference always has been the homemade variety.

Just the other night for supper, Therese fixed a variation of the old standby. She called it a Reuben sandwich casserole. She got the recipe from a co-worker of hers, Mary Sphlical. Basically, it’s a Reuben sandwich that is baked in the oven like a casserole.

Following is a recipe for the casserole, although I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same as the one we used. This one was printed in the Lifestyle section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette back in 2002.

A couple of things cooks will like about the recipe are how the melted Swiss cheese helps the bread cubes stick in place and the sauerkraut on the bottom layer ensures that servings are easy to get out of the casserole dish.

Also, find a recipe for a slimmed-down version of the Reuben that was featured in the Kansas City Star in 2007.

Reuben Sandwich Casserole
1 32-ounce bag sauerkraut, well-drained
1 pound deli-style corned beef, chipped
8-ounce bottle Thousand Island dressing
1 pound sliced or cubed Swiss cheese
12 slices rye bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a layer of sauerkraut on the bottom of a 13-by-9-by-2-inch casserole. Top with a layer of corned beef. Pour the dressing evenly over the beef. Sprinkle on the cheese to cover.
In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the melted butter to coat, then press the bread cubes gently onto the cheese layer. As the cheese melts, it will help the crispy bread cubes adhere.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into portions.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Slimmed-Down Reuben Sandwich
2 slices EarthGrains Pumpernickel Rye bread
2 tablespoons of homemade Thousand Island dressing (recipe follows)
4 slices Sara Lee Corned Beef
¼ cup well-drained sauerkraut
2 Kraft Swiss 2 percent Milk Singles
Cooking spray
Heat a griddle to 350 degrees. Spread 1 tablespoon of dressing on 1 slice of bread, then layer on the corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. Spread the remaining dressing on the other slice of bread and put the sandwich together.
Spray the griddle lightly with cooking spray and cook the sandwich for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until the cheese is melted and the bread is browned and crisped.
Serve immediately.
Yield: 1 sandwich.
Approximate nutritional analysis per sandwich: 415 calories, 12.3 grams fat, 39 grams carbohydrates, 2,164 milligrams sodium, 4.1 grams fiber.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing
1 cup light mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/8 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a bowl, then refrigerate the dressing in a sealed container for 24 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
Yield: Makes about 1¾ cup dressing.
Approximate nutritional analysis per 2-tablespoon serving: 75 calories, 3.3 grams fat grams, 2 grams carbohydrates, 114 milligrams sodium, 0.1 grams fiber.