Servings: 6 Prep: 20 mins Cook: 30 mins Total: 1 hr
Here’s kind of a fun one that plays with the idea of a the famous Reuben Sandwich, yet … there are no sandwiches and nary a slice of bread in sight!
First, let’s talk about a Reuben. Typically Reubens are hot grilled triple beefy stacked sandwiches. Grilled or toasted slices of Rye bread filled with thinly sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and sauerkraut. The origins are somewhat disputed, but it’s clear that it’s an American born sandwich, invented roughly 100 years ago, possibly during a recurring Poker game!
My aim is to reproduce some of the tastes and textures, but without the grains, without the sandwich and without the corned beef (or the corns). Instead, I’m using ground beef, flavored like a traditional corned beef brine. Also, because I’m a West Coast native (California born), I’ve replaced the traditional Russian dressing with Dijon mustard (a style of Reuben referred to as a “West Coast” Reuben). In place of the rye, I’ve added some caraway seeds to the sauerkraut, giving us that telltale taste. Finally I topped the whole shebang with loads of grated Swiss cheese, melting down, browning and tying the whole thing together. Perfect!
Juniper Note: I included juniper berries in this recipe, because they’re a big part of the flavor in corned beef. However, I also know this is a weird ingredient, hard to find and is likely to just rattle around your pantry if you do track some down. Ultimately, this will be AMAZING with or without the juniper berries, but … the addition of them WILL bring this that much closer to a true West Coast Reuben taste.
West Coast Reuben CasserolePrint Rate
- 2 tbsp butter or other cooking fat (lard bacon fat, etc.)
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4 each garlic clove minced
- 2 each bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground dried juniper berries (optional but kinda important)
- 2 lbs ground beef (80 lean/20 fat)
- 1/2 cup dijon mustard whole grain
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 lb sauerkraut drained
- 1 tsp caraway seeds whole
- 1/2 lb swiss cheese grated
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F (177 C).
- In a large sauté pan, over medium heat melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until translucent (the onions and garlic, not you) ... about 3 minutes. Add the cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, allspice, and juniper berries, with a bit of salt and pepper. Saute for about 2 more minutes. Add the ground beef, with a bit more salt and pepper. Break up and brown the ground beef, until fully cooked. Strain off any excess fat or juices and then line the bottom of a deep 13" x 9" casserole pan (33cm x 23cm x 5cm) with an even layer of the ground beef.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the mustard and sour cream. Mix them well and then evenly spread the mixture over the top of the ground beef.
- Squeeze the sauerkraut between your palms, to remove as much moisture as possible. Evenly spread the sauerkraut over the top of the beef and mustard mixture.
- Evenly sprinkle the small amount of caraway seeds over the top of the sauerkraut.
- Evenly spread the grated Swiss cheese over the top of the casserole dish. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is nicely browned and bubbly. Remove and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Slice and serve!
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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition …
15 thoughts on “West Coast Reuben Casserole”
This was really good! I skipped the juniper berries, because like you said, it’s hard to find them. I do have a jar of ground sumac berries, but I have no idea how similar the two are, if at all. It really tasted like a Reuben!
Yummm Thanks for putting the metric measurements in for all us foreigners out here
Happy to hear it, Heather! And … I’m glad the metric information is working for you, my unknown foreign friend! 😉
What is consider a serving?
Hi Jennifer, it’s a healthy portion size. It’s hard to quantify, but … it’s 1/6th of the recipe. So, if you made it in a casserole pan, it would be 1/6th of that. Seen another way, if you add up the grams, it totals about 330 grams, per serving. A cup of water weighs 240 grams, so this would total just short of 1 1/2 cups worth of "stuff", if you were to try and smush it into the bottom of a measuring cup. Seen another way it’s about 12 ounces, or 1 1/2 lbs. of food, per serving. Does this make sense?
—Reply posted by Grama S on 1/9/2015
pounds to oz correction
12 oz =3/4 of a pound (16 oz = 1 lb)
Why not just use a nice corned beef brisket, chopped? Just askin’.
This was so yummy!!! I actually had juniper berries and was looking for something to do with them. I’ll definitely be making this again. I doubled the amounts of the spices. I tasted after the first addition and thought it could use more flavor so I added the amounts again. I also had a 2 lb. bag of sauerkraut and feared that the other half would go to waste so I used it all and bumped up the veg. Really great dinner!! Thanks DJ. This recipe is now in my "go to" arsenal.
This looks really good! Do you remove the bay leaves before putting the cooked beef in the casserole dish?
Mandy, I suppose you could, but ? if you?ve got a nice piece of corned brisket ? I?d personally rather enjoy it intact, I suppose. There?s no reason you couldn?t do this ? it would work and is certain to taste great. I just personally wouldn?t really do that, but ? that?s just me. <br /><br />
Fantastic, Kim! Yep, I personally think it could use a bit more spice, but ? my fear is that the spices would overwhelm the dish. I left it more as a ?whisper? or a reminder of the flavors, but without overwhelming them. For those looking for a bit more pep ? feel free to add a bit more of the spices. I?m glad you enjoyed it! <br /><br />
Sue, you could, I suppose. I personally never do ? but that?s just me. They?re big and easy to avoid when eating.
Just wondering why the fat content is so high in the ground beef? While I often use 93% fat free, the highest fat content I’ve used in recent years is 85%. Do you think it will really make a difference? Thanks!
I just finished making this, and my husband and I had to stop ourselves from eating it all lol. Absolutely delicious! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!
Hi Ellynn, sorry for the delay. I?ve been moving and trying to catch up with the comments, whenever I?ve got a spare moment. In any event, it doesn?t really matter which kind of ground beef you use. Typically an 80/20 blend is common in most restaurants and ? the low-primal dietary philosophy doesn?t really shy away from fat (fat being flavor, and all). If you?re uncomfortable with that amount, feel free to use a leaner ground beef. The 80/20 thing is largely just habit. <br /><br />
Nancy ? I?m sorry to hear it! *wink*
I looked and looked in book 5 and can’t find the ruben casseloe dish please give the page number thank you
—Reply posted by DJ on 1/17/2015
Hi Elizabeth. It’s not in there. I developed this recipe after those. I ‘may’ have included it in the upcoming book 6, but I honestly can’t remember! For now, it lives here … Sorry!
It would be really appreciated if you would the sodium content in the recipes. I am on a sodium restricted diet as well as low carb. Thanks. Love your recipes.
—Reply posted by DJ on 2/25/2015
Hi Janice, unfortunately, there’s just simply no room for that nutrient. I tried to add it, but it squished the whole page into an unreadable format. Additionally, I never really specify a salt content, so I decided my counts would never be accurate, anyway. Finally, I use very little processed foods in my recipes. They’re almost all made with just good old fashioned food. No added sodium, just whatever was in it to begin with. I imagine as someone who pays attention to this, that you’re aware of which ingredients are higher in sodium. No? It’s not really an area I’m well versed in, but wouldn’t that be largely true?
Hi, would you be so kind and email this receipe to email@example.com Thank you soo much 🙂 , Debbie Eisenman (Reuben casserole)
—Reply posted by DJ on 11/5/2015
Hi Debbie. Emailed! 🙂