Turkey Reuben Casserole

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I used to think I hated rye bread.  And when I was a little kid, I wouldn't touch sauerkraut with a ten foot pole.  But these days, I love a good reuben sandwich.  With intentions to recreate the classic, I had this great idea to make Reuben Stuffed Zucchini, but unfortunately, on this past December Sunday, dreary and cold, my grocery store was all out of zucchini.  What a shame.  I had to re-work my game plan a bit!

So, I decided to grab a few potatoes and go straight up casserole!  Since I had lots of roasted turkey in the freezer from Thanksgiving, I made it a Rachel casserole (i.e. Turkey Reuben).  But you could easily swap out the turkey for corned beef if you're more in the mood for the original!  And don't skip the caraway seeds -- they give it that signature rye-bread flavor.

I never knew the difference between Thousand Island and Russian dressings until I started doing a little research in preparing for this recipe!  Check out this Chowhound thread discussing the two (I didn't say it was official research, okay?).  I actually always thought that a Reuben featured Thousand Island dressing - but traditionally, they are made with Russian dressing!  Supposedly...

  • Russian Dressing - Traditional condiment for a Reuben sandwich.  Foundation of either mayo, yogurt, or sour cream, including horseradish and a variety of spices.
  • Thousand Island Dressing - A sweeter variety made with mayonnaise and ketchup with the addition of small bits and pieces of pickles, peppers, and onions.

The dressing I ended up with is kind of a hybrid of the two!  Either way, it turned out realllly good, but feel free to tweak to your tastes!  Go ahead and mix up some extra dressing -- it would be awesome with burgers and oven fries too!

I skipped the cheese (to make this Whole30 / Paleo), but you could throw some in there to make it a little more gooey and reuben-y if cheese is your thing.  

You can either make this in a 9x13 pan, or make it in two 8x8 pans so you can enjoy one now and freeze one for later!


Turkey Reuben (Rachel) Casserole

[Whole30 - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Dairy Free]

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Ingredients:

__________
Crust:

2 medium russet potatoes, grated

1 large sweet potato, grated

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper
__________

Dressing:

1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise (I use this recipe from The Healthy Foodie)

2 dill pickle spears, seeds removed and finely chopped

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp dill pickle brine

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 - 1 tsp horseradish (depending on how spicy you like it!)

1/2 tsp paprika

squeeze of lemon juice

a few dashes of coconut aminos
__________

Filling:

2 lbs roasted turkey breast, chopped/cubed

32 oz jar sauerkraut

2 eggs

2 tsp caraway seeds

1/2 cup dressing (recipe below)
 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease either one 9x13 pan or two 8x8 pans with coconut oil.

To make the potato crust:

  • Scrub and grate the potatoes and wring them out in a dish towel to remove as much moisture as possible.  
    TIP:  Don't bother peeling them unless you like to make your life more difficult.
  • Add the grated potatoes to a mixing bowl along with 2 eggs, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  • Combine well and press potato mixture into the pan (or pans), then bake the crust for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the dressing and reuben filling.

To make the dressing:

  • TIP:  If you want to double the dressing recipe, use the entire batch of homemade mayo (about 1 cup), and double all other ingredients.  As written, you'll have enough to use in the casserole and a bit left over to drizzle on top.
  • Whip up a batch of homemade mayo, or use store-bought if that's your jam.
  • In a small bowl, mix together all dressing ingredients and set aside to let the flavors come together.

To make the reuben filling:

  • Drain the sauerkraut well (I used a dish towel to wring out even more moisture).
  • In the same mixing bowl you used for the potatoes (fewer dishes, yeah!), combine chopped turkey with the drained sauerkraut and 2 tsp of caraway seeds.
  • With a fork, whisk together 1/2 cup of the dressing with 2 eggs and add to the turkey/sauerkraut, folding together until everything is combined.
  • Fill the potato crust with this filling and sprinkle the top with extra chopped parsley and caraway seeds.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until filling is set and the top is lightly browned.
  • Drizzle with extra dressing and serve with a side salad!  And don't forget the dill pickle!