OK, so you may be having corned beef and cabbage on the day—but then, hallelujah, make way for the Reuben!
I had a DELICIOUS time making my own corned beef. I used Michael Ruhlman’s recipe and it was wonderful. I loved that I finally knew what went into that “corning.” (And no, there is not a drop of corn.) It is just as simple as brinning a turkey and I do that each Thanksgiving, so brinning a brisket is no big deal.
Oh YES! The Reuben’s were wonderful. I think it is really one of those times when you can grab the everyday ingredients and make a good sandwich. Or, step up the game, pick up some fresh rye bread, whisk a dressing and make a memorable Reuben. Your choice. Just do it.
Tips I discovered:
Good bread. Restaurants always use good bread, so why not at home? I found some light, crusty Rye, still warm and not sliced at a local grocery store. I also have a local brand of sliced rye that is equally good.
Corned beef: Every store has corned beef, brinned and ready to cook on sale this week. Follow the package directions, and be sure to simmer it until it is really tender—then thinly slice it. If you make your own, just start now as you need to brine it for about 5 days. I left out the sodium nitrite–I could not easily buy it and a family member is super sensitive to it, yet it still tasted great.
Swiss cheese: Taste some the deli has and buy your favorite. Fresh and thinly sliced is always the way to go.
Sauerkraut: I found the best—and probably the cheapest—at Aldi’s. Their German sauerkraut is mild and is made with white wine. It doesn’t have a strong vinegar taste so it reminded me of the sauerkraut I enjoyed in Germany. At just $1.69 for 24 ounces it is a steal.
Dressing: I made the Russian Dressing. OK, that might be a little extreme, but at least buy your favorite. The recipe I used is below—and it really is good.
Now, stack up that sandwich and grill it slow until golden and Wow!
2 slices rye bread
2 to 4 ounces fully-cooked corned beef, sliced and warmed
1 to 2 slices Swiss cheese
3 to 4 tablespoons sauerkraut, drained
Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Spread the other side of the bread with the dressing. Stack corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on top of the dressing on one slice. Top with bread, buttered side out.
Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium low heat. Grill until the bread is toasted, then flip to toast the other side.
Makes 1 sandwich.
Tip: Have the meat warm and cook the sandwich over low heat. If the meat is cold, or the heat too high, the bread will toast before the cheese melts.
¾ cup mayonnaise
6 tablespoons bottled chili sauce
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 teaspoons minced onion
4 teaspoons minced dill pickle
2 teaspoons minced fresh curly parsley
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon prepared horseradish
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Mix together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate; use with 1 month.
Makes about 1½ cups.
*Russian Dressing recipe adapted from Zingerman’s Deli, in Ann Arbor Michigan. Thanks Foodnetwork for sharing the recipe.