Sunday, January 16, 2011

Recipe: This probably won't kill you

Corned Beef, Spinach and Celeriac Casserole*

Finished product not exactly as illustrated.
After a while in the kitchen, if you paying attention to what you're doing, you begin to see patterns to what works and what doesn't, what goes with what, and basic overall preparation techniques.

As untested as it gets, I just made this recipe up as a way to use leftover corned beef. Inspiration for this came from so it's not totally out of the blue — but substantial parts of it are.... 

If you're a regular reader of my blog, or wish to become one (hint), over time you'll notice I do a lot of one-pot (or close to it) meals. I'm not really into leaving a sink full of dishes to stare at you while you're eating.

Serve this corned beef casserole with a salad and crusty warm bread, bottle of red wine, etc.

1 lb pasta, small shapes like fusilli, rigatoni, bow ties, etc.
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp butter, divided
1 cup onion, sliced thinly
2 cups celeriac, sliced and chopped into small sticks
1 lb leftover corned beef, shredded (see note)
8 ounces baby spinach (1 bag)
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
2 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp thyme, dried
2 cups swiss cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups small bread cubes, dried and tossed with butter

note: if you haven't made your own corned beef, take care in choosing canned corned beef. They're not all the same. Hereford's is basically a mush of mechanically separated whatever. Others can be worse. I have found certain brands at the local Asian grocery actually have chunks of recognizable meat. Usually products of Australia or Argentina. They're far different, and much tastier, than what we're used to in the chain grocery stores.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook pasta until just a minute or two before time according to package instructions. Drain. Cover with cold water and set aside. (The noodles will finish cooking in the oven.)

In a sauté pan melt the first 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and celeriac. Cook over medium heat until they start to brown. Remove from pan and set aside. 

Wash spinach, but do not dry. Add spinach to remaining butter in the pan. Sauté spinach until wilted. Add to onion and celeriac and mix.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the same saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour until well blended to make a roux. Allow to brown slightly if you wish. This will add some depth of flavour.

Whisk in mustard. Then slowly add wine (or chicken stock), to make a thick sauce. Then, still whisking, add stock and cook until thickened. Remove from the heat. Add a little of the sauce to the egg to temper. Then add back into sauce. Stir in both peppers, thyme and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and heat until cheese is melted. Add salt to taste. (Remember, if your corned beef is already slightly salty adjust the salt down as you deem fit.)

To assemble, place half of the noodles on the bottom of a buttered 9x9 casserole dish. Then add the shredded corned beef, and then the vegetables, in separate layers. Top with the remaining noodles. Then pour the sauce over the casserole. 

Distribute the bread cubes on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and lightly browned.

Serves 4 to 6.

* It just came out of the oven. Tastes very good, if you ask me. Success!


  1. This was very tasty, and it reheated well too.

  2. I have picked up lovely & local corned beef at a local farmer's market that comes from Martock Glen Farm. Highly recommend it! Love the blog!!