Overnight Reuben Strata is basically a Reuben sandwich drenched in a simple egg custard, refrigerated overnight and baked the next day. IMO, it is way better than a traditional Reuben.
The truth is I have never liked a Reuben sandwich. You know the Reuben you order for lunch with corned beef and Thousand Island, Swiss cheese, rye bread and…sauerkraut.
To me that’s just too much gobbly gook. I know many of you adore them.
My girlfriend always orders a Reuben at lunch; after first apologizing that she just shouldn’t. But she just does.
My solution is this Overnight Reuben Strata recipe. Even I adore a Reuben this way!
This overnight Reuben strata recipe is amazing.
I’m telling you this because I mean it.
But what exactly is a strata?
Nothing fancy. A strata is a casserole with bread, cheese and meat drenched with eggs and milk and refrigerated overnight.
Call this whatever you want, but I love this corned beef strata.
Making this reuben and rye strata was as simple as making a few reuben sandwiches with the traditional ingredients of corned beef, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles.
Then it was time to pour the egg and milk mixture over the top and refrigerate until the next day.
Upon dissection of a Reuben sandwich it appears that there isn’t much I like about it.
I never liked rye bread because I’m not a fan of caraway. Swiss cheese was not my favorite. And sauerkraut?
Although, my father kept it in a jar hidden in the recesses of the refrigerator as if he was worried someone might eat it.
As for 1000 Island dressing? I preferred the good old bright orange, sugary French dressing made by Western.
However my mother did make her own version of 1000 Island with just two ingredients. Ketchup and mayo. She put that on iceberg lettuce when we were kids. That was good.
I do like corned beef, but only between the bulk of an onion roll or in the split of a bagel. I know.
I don’t eat beef anymore but I do confess to having a bite of thinly sliced corned beef when it is around. Which really is almost never.
So what compelled me to make this savory strata filled with corned beef and Swiss cheese?
Perhaps it was the fact that I love making breakfast the night before. I love the casseroles that you can keep overnight in the fridge and bake the next morning.
In this case I kept it 24 hours and baked it for dinner. It was perfect.
Filled with heaps of corned beef and the slight tang of mustard, with no 1000 Island in sight; I guess you could say I’ve grown up.
I even made this strata with Jewish rye, (go figure) and I tried, but couldn’t detect the caraway.
Top this with well dried sauerkraut and good old Swiss cheese and this was a totally delicious experience.
The corned beef benefits from the nutty sweetness of the Swiss and the tang of the sauerkraut. The bread melts right in and seems to hold everything in place. A perfect strata as evidenced those pretty layers!
And, a few of my favorite overnight breakfast casseroles:
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- 6 – 8 slices rye bread, TOASTED (The number of slices depends on the size of your pan and the bread. I used Oroweat Jewish rye and only needed 6 slices for 11 x 8 pan.)
- 1 lb thinly sliced deli corned beef
- 8 oz Swiss cheese shredded (2 cups)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 c whole milk
- 3/4 t salt
- 1/2 t pepper
- 12 ounces sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry (I used Trader Joe’s Persian Pickle)
- 2 T minced fresh chives or scallions
- 1/3 c mustard (optional) and Dill Pickle chips (optional)
- Spray or grease an 8 inch square pan or an 11×8 rectangle pan. Spread mustard on 1 side of slices of bread. This is optional though I did enjoy my sweet hot mustard in this! Arrange half of bread slices in one layer in prepared dish.
- Top slices of bread with half of the corned beef. Sprinkle corned beef with 2/3 c of the Swiss cheese. Repeat layer with the the rye bread , corned beef and 2/3 c Swiss cheese.
- Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Pour evenly over top of strata. Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap , pressing it directly on top of the bread. Weigh strata down with heavy cans, wine bottles or even dried beans in a ziplock bag. Press so that it is weighted firmly and evenly. Refrigerate overnight and up to 24 hours.
- Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat to 325. Meanwhile let strata sit at room temperature for 20 minutes uncovered. Bake until edges and center are puffed and edges have pulled away from sides of pan; about 50 minutes. Rotate pan after 25 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven. Adjust oven rack to about 8 inches from broiler. Heat broiler to high. Sprinkle sauerkraut over top of strata, (at this point you can also throw on some dill pickle slices if you desire) then sprinkle with remaining 2/3 c of cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and golden, about 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted slightly from “One Pan Wonders” by America’s Test Kitchen
Keywords: strata, breakfast, breakfast casserole, overnight breakfast casserole, Reuben, corned beef strata, reuben strata recipe, reuben and rye strata, reuben casserole