Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year's Reuben Recipe

Hello everyone!

Just a quick original recipe I'd like to share to help you get rid of your New Year's leftovers.

I assume everyone's made kielbasa and sauerkraut for New Year's Eve/Day, but if you haven't, then you'll have to for this recipe.

I used homemade sauerkraut (which I had frozen) and Wasilewski kielbasa (which is a local brand that is freaking amazing, it's worth seeking out a good kielbasa that isn't a huge brand. Wasilewski kielbasa was about half again as much as Hillshire Farms and worth EVERY PENNY), threw it all in the slow-cooker for 8 hours on low with half a large onion and dumped a bottle of Woodchuck Amber Draft Hard Cider into the mix, but you can use your own preferred recipe for all that biz (although be aware that YMMV with the following recipe when you change things).

Anyway, this is pretty simple. You'll need the following:

  • Leftover kielbasa and sauerkraut (enough sauerkraut as you prefer for your Reubens and enough Kielbasa to cover a piece of bread)
I've found cutting the kielbasa lengthwise provides the best sandwich eating experience, but cutting it in small slices also works
  • Your choice of corned beef or pastrami or a mixture. I use about 4 slices of pastrami per sandwich, which would be about 2 slices of corned beef
  • Your choice of a hearty bread (traditionally rye).
  • Swiss cheese
  • Butter for frying and butter for toasting
  • 1000 Island Dressing (or your condiment of choice. Ranch is a nice alternative)


Heat your pan up with some butter (the more the better. I use about 1 Tbsp per sandwich, so if you're making multiple sandwiches, use more, it will make it taste better).

Begin frying the lunch meat. Fry to your desired levels. If you've never made a Reuben before, some like the meat torn, some like it sliced into strips, and some like it sandwich sized, experiment to find your preferences. Make sure you swirl the meat around in all that butter.

When the meat is nearing desired levels of done-ness, add your sauerkraut and sliced kielbasa.

Fry that up in the juices of your melted butter and grease with what juices are left from the sauerkraut.

At about this point, you should either toast your bread in a toaster, or spread butter on it and toast it in a semi-dry area of the pan (I use the toaster for convenience, but if you are using a flat skillet, you probably have room for it there, and should also adjust your butter levels so that there's not as much).

Note: Toasted bread is highly recommended for stability purposes.

Arrange your lunch meat into sandwich sized portions, layer sauerkraut and top with Swiss cheese until the cheese is gooey.

Once the cheese is gooey, add sliced kielbasa to the top so that the gooey-ness of the cheese helps hold the kielbasa.

Use your toast and a spatula to scoop up everything. If you have a nice spatula, you can probably scoop an entire sandwich without assistance, and this will help maintain the sandwich's integrity.

Add Thousand Island Dressing. I make these with ranch instead when I'm out of Thousand Island, but my fiancee swears by mayo and mustard.

If you're an experienced sandwich eater, you shouldn't need a fork with a hearty toasted bread providing structure and cheese providing stick, but I won't look down on anyone that prefers to eat these with a fork (although others might!).

I like these even more than Reubens, but the additional requirement of 8-hr slow-cooked kielbasa and sauerkraut means that it is a bit of a task when that's not readily available.

Note: All the meats in this (at least the ones I used) are ready-to-eat, so cooking is purely for flavor-enhancement.

Let me know if you end up trying this!