A sandwich in the making
By JEAN TELLER
Driving down the road to the Grit staff’s favorite diner, I’m thinking about the Reuben sandwich on the menu. Marbled rye bread piled high (almost too high) with corned beef, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. What a treat. One of my favorite sandwiches, the Reuben has a hazy history. Some say the sandwich was invented in Omaha, Nebraska, by Reuben Kulakofsky (or Ruebin Kay), a grocer who took part in a weekly poker game at the Blackstone Hotel in the 1920s. The Reuben could have been a group effort by the poker players, too. The hotel’s owner put the sandwich on the lunch menu, a former employee won a national contest with the recipe, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Others claim the sandwich’s creator was Arnold Reuben, the owner of New York’s Reuben’s Delicatessen, who put a Reuben special on his menu around 1914.
However it came into being, I enjoy a Reuben wherever and whenever I can. Although I may have to consider ordering a Rachel one of these days: pastrami or turkey instead of corned beef, and coleslaw instead of sauerkraut.
Dream up your own special sandwich with these recipes for corned beef.
If a Reuben isn’t what you crave, try Dorothy’s Meatloaf or Herbed Beer Bread. You could even treat the family to all of these great recipes. Have fun!
Corned beef tips
Angela Barnes, White Cloud, Michigan, offers this recipe, writing, “(The recipe is) from Charcuterie by Brian Polcyn, a local chef here in Michigan. I always use brisket, but I think a flat chuck roast would work. The pink salt (a curing salt containing nitrite) is a necessary preservative, and it can be obtained from a local meatpacker. I get mine online from Butcher & Packer out of Detroit; their shipping is reasonable and their service is great (www.Butcher-Packer.com).”
Corned beef brine
1 gallon water
2 cups kosher salt
5 teaspoons pink curing salt (1 ounce)
1/2 cup sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Pickling Spice, recipe follows
5 pounds well-marbled (first-cut) beef brisket
2 tablespoons Pickling Spice
Combine all brine ingredients in large pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salts and sugar are dissolved. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until completely chilled.
Place brisket in brine and weigh down with plate to keep meat submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days.
Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly under cool running water. (Resting is not required here because the distribution of the brine will continue in the long slow-cooking process.)
Place brisket in pot just large enough to hold it and add enough water to cover meat. Add remaining Pickling Spice and bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer gently for about 3 hours, or until brisket is fork-tender. There should always be enough water to cover the brisket, so replenish the water if it gets too low.
Remove corned beef from cooking liquid (which can be used to moisten the meat and vegetables, if that’s what you’re serving). Slice corned beef and serve warm, or cool, wrap tightly, and refrigerate (up to a week) until ready to serve. Yields about 8 to 10 servings.
Note: Angela writes, “We serve ours with fried cabbage and creamed spinach, yum!”
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 tablespoons coriander seed
2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons allspice berries
1 tablespoon ground mace
2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
24 bay leaves, crumbled
2 tablespoons whole cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
Lightly toast peppercorns, mustard seed, and coriander seed in dry small skillet, then use side of knife (or use mortar and pestle) just to crack them.
Add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Store in tightly sealed container or glass jar. Yields 1 cup.
Martha Tompkins, Pittsburg, Kansas, writes, “This meatloaf slices well for sandwiches, my husband and son’s favorite. The recipe is originally from The Betty Crocker Cookbook, and is named just Dorothy’s as she was a good friend.”
2 slices bread
1 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (can be part sausage)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup grated onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sage
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1\4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast bread twice, then crumble and soak crumbs in milk. Add meat, eggs, onion, and seasonings. Mix well and place in loaf pan. Poke holes randomly in loaf.
Combine sauce ingredients, mixing well. Pour over meatloaf. Bake for 1 hour, or until cooked through.
Sauce sinks into meatloaf during baking, and it is delicious. Yields 10 to 12 servings.
Tips: Use a baster to remove grease, and pat loaf with a paper towel to be sure the grease has all been removed. Martha toasts the bread twice, as you get a much better crumb than if you just toast it once.
Herbed beer bread
1 tablespoon shortening
3 tablespoons cornmeal
3 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (or 1 teaspoon each of oregano,basil and thyme)
1 can (12 ounces) beer, room temperature
2 tablespoons soft butter
Heat oven to 325 F. Grease loaf pan with shortening and sprinkle bottom and sides with cornmeal; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cheese, and herbs; mix well to combine. Stir in beer, mixing until stiff batter forms.
Turn batter into pan. Bake for 65 minutes. Brush baked loaf with softened butter and sprinkle with additional cornmeal, if desired. Turn out and cool on rack.
Beer bread rolls
8 slices bacon
2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup dry onion soup mix
3 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, divided
1 can (12 ounces) beer
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
Fry bacon; crumble and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings.
In mixer bowl, combine yeast, onion soup mix, and 1 3/4 cups flour.
In saucepan, heat together beer, milk, sugar, and reserved bacon drippings just until warm (mixture will appear curdled); add to dry ingredients in mixer bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in crumbled bacon and remaining flour to make moderately stiff dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.
Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover and let rise in warm place until almost doubled in bulk, 40 to 50 minutes. Punch down. Shape into 16 rolls and divide evenly between 2 round 9-inch baking pans.
Brush tops with melted butter. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Cover lightly and let rise in warm place until almost doubled in size, about 25 minutes. Bake at 375 F for about 20 minutes. Yields 16 rolls.
Excerpted from Grit. To read more articles from Grit, please visit www.grit.com, or call 866-803-7096. Copyright 2019 by Ogden Publications Inc.
Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page