Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Corned Beef Casserole

Happy Paddy's Week!

Just in time for this beloved Irish holiday, I wanted to share my latest creation...Corned Beef Casserole.

My husband requested corned beef last week and since it wasn't something I'd ever made before, I politely added it to my suggestion list.  You know...the list of things that may never get done. Everyone has one of those, right? 

And, then, bam…it hit me like a ton inspiring bricks, I can fulfill Jerry's request and tie it right in with the upcoming holiday. Double duty. Always love a 2 for 1 deal. 

Even with a name like Bailey, neither of us have any Irish in us.  But, since I've spent my fair share of time in Ireland, including two Paddy's day trips (which means I was there last year at this time), I do have a special place in my heart for this Irish tradition.

Contrary to the rumors, the Dublin city centre is, in fact, a wild and crazy place to be on Paddy's day.  I have never been to Mardi Gras, but in my mind I would liken it to that.  Paddy's Eve was mad (as they say in Ireland) with costumes and hoopla galore.  We thankfully managed to find a table in the back of a pub with some live music, (since we had NO idea what we were in for) and take in the revelry.  We also hit up the parade the next morning, because, well, how couldn't we?!? (Even though it meant getting up much too early considering the time our heads hit the pillows the night, ahem, morning before.)

Also to be noted, good luck finding food on Paddy's day in the city centre...the pubs don't have time for that. They are already packed full of people content with liquid diets for the day.

Makes me wonder what my friends who are now living in Dublin will be doing this year for the holiday.  Stick around for the mayhem? Or head out of town for a more low key celebration?

So, with my Irish spirit roaring, I headed to the store yesterday to pick up the essential ingredients, starting with the corned beef, Swiss cheese, cabbage (the lazy approach…I can justify the from time to time) and the marble rye bread.

Since I was a corned beef novice, I went to the meat counter at Woodman's to seek some expert advice.  Thankfully, the gentleman behind the counter was able to guide me to the roasts, which was exactly what I was looking for to build this meal around. He was even able to tell me what to look for, that the flat square roasts are a better cut of meat than one that is round or pointed.  I am very grateful for that bit of information and will be sure to return for more questions.

I brought home the 2 lb corned beef roast and put it in the crock pot with its juices, the included seasoning packet and water to just cover the roast.  I set the crock pot on auto, which gets it started on high until it hits a certain temperature and then automatically changes it to low.  The roast simmered for about 5 hours until it was easy to shred with fork. Longer would have been fine too, but I had to get moving.

While the roast was resting, the other of the ingredients were prepared.  Three red potatoes were chopped, fairly small since this was the limiting factor in the baking process.  I also chopped up one onion, added that to the potatoes, along with 1 cup of coleslaw mix,  2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and 1 cup of milk.

As I said, this was my first attempt at corned beef anything, and the casserole ingredients were part of the experiment.  The only revision I'd suggest is that more coleslaw mix could be added.  I was intentionally conservative because my family is not particularly find of cabbage (or kraut, much to my dismay...I would have loved to make this a Reuben dish), but the cabbage was not even discernible.  The carrots were noticed, but any root vegetable is fair game in an Irish-inspired dish.

The chopped and shredded corned beef was added to the mix, gently stirred and poured into a 9x13 pan for baking.

Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

While the dish was baking, I took 6 slices of a rye and pumpernickel marble bread and chopped them up to serve as croutons on the top of the dish.

Final step before serving was to uncover and top with croutons return to the oven for another 5 minutes, bumping the temperature up to 400F.

"This one's a winner" was Jerry's resounding endorsement.  Ryker had seconds, which is nothing new,  but Landon's seal of approval was asking if he could have the leftovers for dinner tonight.



2 lb corned beef roast
3 red potatoes chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of coleslaw mix (could be doubled)
2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of milk
6 slices of a rye and pumpernickel marble bread, chopped into croutons

Shred or chop up cooked corned beef roast

In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, onion, coleslaw, Swiss cheese, mushroom soup and milk.

Add the corned beef.

Pour into 9x13 baking dish.

Cover and bake at 350F for 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Top with croutons and bake, uncovered, for additional 5 minutes at 400F until croutons are crisp.