It was Thrifty Nana (my mom) and Mel’s birthday weekend, and I really can’t help myself: corned beef and cabbage is a must this time every year. Remember last year when we made it for TN’s birthday? Check that out here.
This year’s meal arose out of a dispute I had with my dad. I drove past an Arby’s while I was talking to him (on my hands-free device of course) and saw their ad for a Reuben sandwich.
Dad mentioned that he’d just seen an article in his newspaper about Reubens being invented in Omaha. Being an Omahan, he was proud. I didn’t believe him. I thought surely something like that would’ve been invented in NYC. So he sent me the article. Well, they do have a claim to it.
I mentioned this to Mel, and she confirmed. A Google search indicates that it was either invented in Omaha or NYC – a dispute exists that may never be resolved. Oh, where are Mystery, Inc. – those meddling kids – when you need them? Check the Wikipedia link here.
Anyway, Shaun’s not a huge fan of the cabbage part of corned beef and cabbage, so I thought doing Reuben sandwiches instead might not be a bad idea. I love them, and I inquired – everyone else loves them in some variation.
So Saturday was the birthday dinner. Shaun and I cooked the corned beef in a crock pot for about 8 hours on low, with the last hour on high since I didn’t feel like the brisket was falling-apart tender enough. That worked.
Thrifty Nana brought over a jar of our homemade sauerkraut (sow-er-crowt). We are half German, and my great-grandma immigrated from Germany after WWI, so we have a recipe direct from the source. I have determined that I will be the cooking heir in the family (joined by my cousin Nicole), so I am learning all of these recipes to pass on to the next generation. Sometimes I feel like our generation, and the next, aren’t taking time to learn the recipes of our ancestors and that’s a shame. I am not one of those people. I know how to make our family’s German sauerkraut and potato dumplings and igory with homemade pickles.
Maybe I’ll share some of these. I’m heading to MI to visit my family in May, so I’ll have Grandma make the recipes and I’ll blog about them – preserved forever in the blogosphere.
Here’s our meal:
I made coleslaw since that just seemed to go with a Reuben. We cut the cabbage out of the traditional version of corned beef, so I got it in anyway. And Shaun doesn’t have to deal with smelly cooked cabbage odor. And I bought potato chips. Those just seemed to perfect the meal. It doesn’t always need to be gourmet cuisine around the D household to be amazing.
Assembling the Reubens wasn’t too complicated:
You’ll need –
Shredded/sliced corned beef brisket, fully cooked
Thousand island dressing (I got the Target brand)
Swiss cheese slices
Rye bread (I bought ‘Jewish rye’ but there are numerous varieties)
We first spread out about 1 tablespoon of thousand island dressing on a bread slice. Then put the corned beef slices onto that slice, followed by a decent handful of sauerkraut (~1/2 cup). Down went the Swiss cheese next and another slice of bread.
We buttered the top slice of the bread and put the buttered side of the sandwich down on Shaun’s electric griddle pan. Obviously you could cook these in a frying pan on the stovetop too. We were doing assembly line – cook these just like you would cook a grilled cheese sandwich.
While the first side was cooking, we buttered the top slice of bread. When the underneath, griddle side of the sandwich was golden brown, we flipped the sandwiches and cooked those until the 2nd side was golden brown. By this point the cheese was melted and everything was warm and delicious.
Shaun and Mel didn’t go for the sauerkraut, but all the rest of us, including the kiddos, were totally on board. There wasn’t a scrap left. The coleslaw and potato chips were great with them too.
Let me tell you that these were FAB-U-LOUS and SUPER EASY.
Overall, a lip-smacking good birthday dinner. Lori’s making a different version of a Reuben sandwich today, so she’ll do Reuben Sandwich, Part Zwei, soon.