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TIP OF THE DAY: Reuben Sandwich Day & Recipe For Reuben Muffins

Reuben Sandwich

Reuben On Marble Rye

Turkey Reuben On Rye

[1] A classic Reuben Sandwich (photo J. Java |Fotolia). [2] A Reuben on marble rye (photo courtesy Boar’s Head). [3] A Turkey Reuben on plain rye instead of pumpernickel (photo National Turkey Federation).

 

In 2013, March 14th was declared National Reuben Sandwich Day by the city of Omaha, birthplace of the Reuben Sandwich.

HISTORY OF THE REUBEN SANDWICH

As the story goes, Reuben Kulakofsky (1873-1960), a Jewish Lithuanian-born wholesale grocer, invented the sandwich in the late 1920s for his weekly poker game. He may have had input from members of the group, which held forth in the Blackstone Hotel from about 1920 through 1935.

The Reuben he created is a grilled or toasted sandwich on rye or pumpernickel, with generous amounts of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and either Russian or Thousand Island dressing (the difference is the pickle relish in the latter).

Among the poker players was the hotel’s owner, Charles Schimmel, who added it to the Blackstone’s lunch menu, where it was quite popular.

But the Reuben Sandwich became known nationally when a hotel employee won a national contest with the recipe.

The National Sandwich Idea Contest was a promotion held during National Sandwich Month, to inspire professional cooks to create excitement in the sandwich category. It was sponsored by the Chicago-based Wheat Flour Institute.

The first winners were announced in 1956, and top honors went to Fern Snider, a cook at the Blackstone [source]. The sandwich recipe was provided (restaurant sized, for 48 sandwiches!) to restaurants nationwide.

Another story credits Arnold Reuben (1883-1970), the German-Jewish owner of the Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City (open 1908 to 2001, changing locations numerous times).

In a 1938 interview with Arnold Manoff, a writer with the Federal Writers’ Project of the WPA, Arnold Reuben details his creation of the “Reuben Special,” but it was made with roast beef, not corned beef, in 1926 [source—a seven-page transcript of the interview].

He also claims, in that interview, to have created the concept of sandwiches named for celebrities. That claim is not contested.

The evidence says Omaha wins. But it took until March 2013, in Omaha, for the mayor to proclaim March 14th as Reuben Sandwich Day.

Check out our Sandwich Glossary for other sandwich histories.
 
REUBEN SANDWICH VARIATIONS

The Reuben has been adapted many times over, including a substitute of pastrami, turkey (photo #2) or tongue for the corned beef, and coleslaw for the sauerkraut. Rye or marble rye (photo #2) can stand in for the pumpernickel.

Some variations aren’t grilled (so the cheese isn’t melted, alas). Some variations:

  • Georgia Reuben: a Michigan variant of a turkey Reuben that substitutes barbecue sauce or French dressing for the Russian/Thousand Island dressing.
  • Grouper Reuben: a Florida specialty that substitutes local grouper for the corned beef.
  • Lobster Reuben: this Florida Keys variation substitutes lobster for the corned beef.
  • Montreal Reuben: substitutes Montreal-style smoked meat for corned beef.
  • Walleye Reuben: a Minnesota version that features the state fish, the walleye, instead of corned beef.
  • West Coast Reuben: substitutes Dijon mustard for the Thousand Island dressing.
  •  
    We’ve also published recipes for Reuben Egg Rolls (photo #5) and Reuben Collard Wraps (photo #6).

    A Reuben on a pumpkernickel bagel (photo #7). Oy vey! A pumpernickel wrap sandwich is a much better homage (they’re made by Tumaro’s and can be found nationwide, including at Walmart).

    How about Reuben Tacos?

    This year we have Reuben Biscuits (photo #3). The recipe follows.

     

    RECIPE: REUBEN MUFFINS

    Thanks to King Arthur Flour for this variation (photo #4). Prep time is 15-20 minutes, bake time is 22-24 minutes.

    The muffins are delicious with scrambled eggs.

    Ingredients For 15 Biscuits

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup diced Swiss cheese (1/4″ dice)
  • 3/4 cup diced ham (1/4″ dice)
  • 1/3 cup well-drained sauerkraut
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Cream for brushing
  • Optional: Thousand Island dressing
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

    2. WHISK together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. Mix in the cheese, ham and sauerkraut until evenly distributed.

    3. WHISK together the sour cream and milk and add to the dough, stirring to combine. The dough should be sticky. Drop the dough by the 1/4-cupful onto the prepared baking sheet (a muffin scoop works well here).

    The biscuits can be spaced quite close together. About 1″ apart is fine.

    4. BRUSH the biscuits with a bit of cream; this will help their crust brown.

    5. BAKE the biscuits for 22 to 24 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool slightly in the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Thousand Island dressing is a nice accompaniment.
     
     
    MORE REUBEN RECIPES

  • Reuben Egg Rolls
  • Reuben Collard Wraps (meat or vegan)
  • Reuben Tacos
  • Reuben Burger
  • Vegetarian Reuben with vegan pastrami
  • Reuben Hors Bites or Beer Bites
  • Reuben Hot Dogs
  • Reuben ravioli from Chef Michael Symon
  •  

    Reuben Biscuits

    Reuben Egg Rolls

    Reuben Collard Wrap

    Reuben On A Bagel

    [4] Reuben Biscuits (recipe and photo courtesy King Arthur Flour. [5] An Egg Roll Reuben (photo courtesy Dietz & Watson). [6] A Reuben Collard Wrap (photo courtesy Spring Vegan). [7] Reuben on a pumpernickel bagel—with added mustard. Oy vey! (photo courtesy

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Sharpen Your Knife Skills

    Wusthof Knife Set

    How To Cut A Squash

    How To Butcher A Chicken

    How To Filet A Fish

    It’s easy to learn how to cut and slice the correct, efficient, safe way. You’ll feel good about it, too (photos courtesy Wüsthof).

     

    Most of us have never taken a knife skills course.

    Most likely, we learned from watching food prepared at home or on TV, or simply by freestyling.

    After all, we’re intelligent; we can figure it out. Right?

    Not exactly.

    Unless you can do the following to your satisfaction, you’ll benefit by investing a few minutes on the Wüsthof website.

    You’ll become a better cook just by seeing:

  • How to cut consistent slices and dices. Different thicknesses don’t cook evenly, and the finished product doesn’t look as good.
  • How to chop garlic, herbs and onions into very small, consistent pieces.
  • How to slice different types of vegetables, including the formidable winter squash group.
  • How to work faster and safer. Practice makes perfect—and speedy.
  •  
    WÜSTHOF KNIFE SKILLS VIDEOS

    General Skills

  • The basics: The 3 essential knives: chef’s, paring and serrated knives and how to use them.
  • The pinch grip.
  • Sharpening with a steel.
  • Using a hand-held sharpener.
  • How to sharpen serrated blades.
  •  
    Proteins

    Learn how to break down whole chicken or filet a whole fish, and you’ll enjoy big savings, too.

  • Butcher a chicken.
  • Filet a fish.
  • Carve a turkey.
  •  
    Produce

  • Break down a squash.
  • Chiffonade herbs and greens.
  • Dice an onion into uniform pieces.
  • Julienne (cut matchsticks).
  • Slice a pineapple.
  •  
    There are 36 videos.

    Each is succinct, enabling you to play it as many times as you need without wasting time.

    So grab your phone or tablet, head to the kitchen, pull out a cutting board and start cutting—the right way.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Get The App, Spread The Word Before St. Patrick’s Day

    Our content doesn’t usually cover public service announcements.

    But THE NIBBLE website was built around the concept of celebrating food-oriented holidays; so we think this is an important one for us to spread the word.

    Pass these tips along to friends, kids, and anyone who will be drinking a few on St. Patrick’s Day.

    The tips are from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which wants everyone to know:

    Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.

    They suggest that in advance, you:

  • Plan for a sober ride home after the celebration.
  • Volunteer to be a designated driver.
  • Download the NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, enabling users to call a taxi or a friend and identifying their location so they can be picked up.
  •  
    Download the app here.

    If you’re hosting an event:

  • Collect the car keys as guests arrive. Don’t return them to inebriated drivers.
  • Have the numbers of cab companies at hand, or be prepared to use your Uber account to get buzzed drivers home.
  • Plan for that extra guest to spend the night.
  •  
    WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO SPREAD THE WORD

    In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving accidents, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S., forever changing the lives of parents, children, friends and other loved ones.

    In 2015, the number increased to 10,265 deaths (2016 numbers are not yet available).

    Plan ahead. Don’t rely on the luck of the Irish.
     
     
    AND SPREAD THE WORD AGAIN BEFORE NEW YEAR’S EVE.

     

    Kiss Me I'm Sober

    NHTSA safe ride-app

    [1] Add a reminder to your St. Patrick’s Day hat, name tag, etc. [2] Download this app so you can get assistance on any day. Photos courtesy National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Spuds For St. Patrick’s Day

    Broccoli Stuffed Potato

    Basiron Green Cheese

    Colcannon Baked Potato

    Green Colcannon

    ]1] Broccoli-topped baked potato. Instead of cheddar, pick up [2] this Basiron Green Pesto Gouda (check Walmart or iGourmet). Here’s the recipe from Skinny Taste. [3] Conventional colcannon in a baked potato, versus [4] green colcannon from Food Wishes | YouTube.

     

    Turn a stuffed baked potato into a St. Patrick’s Day spud with creative toppings or fillings.

    Some work with a conventional topping of sour cream and chives; others take on a personality all their own.

    BAKED POTATO TOPPINGS

  • Corned beef and cabbage: diced corned beef and sauerkraut. Check out this recipe for Reuben Stuffed Potatoes.
  • Green vegetables: favorite cooked green vegetables(photo #1).
  • Guacamole.
  • Salad: Lightly dress a salad of baby spinach and baby arugula or watercress, and top the potato.
  • Shaved green cheese: Use Basiron Green Pesto Gouda (photo #2).
  • Sour cream and green tobiko.
  • Sour cream tinted green, topped with minced chives.
  • Spinach dip with lots of spinach and a sour cream base.
  •  
    BAKED POTATO FILLINGS

  • Pesto mashed potatoes: Scoop out the potatoes, mix with bright green pesto, season and stuff the potato shell.
  • Colcannon: Make the special green colcannon recipe, below. You can fill the baked potato, or eat the colcannon straight.
  •  
    CHEF JOHN’S GREEN COLCANNNON

    Thanks to Chef John for making colcannon more green for St. Patrick’s Day.

    Colcannon is a traditional Irish mashed potato dish made from potatoes, kale or cabbage, milk or cream, butter and salt and pepper added.

    It can also contain a member of the onion group: chives, green onions (scallions), leeks or regular onions (different types of onions and how to use them).

    Chef John makes the traditional colcannon (shown stuffed in a baked potato in photo #3) more green, by adding more kale and green onions in addition to the leek.

    Ingredients

  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces kale or chard, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 leek, light parts only, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions (scallions), chopped, white and green parts separated
  • 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons butter, for serving
  • 1/4 cup green onions to garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BOIL the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and lightly mash the potatoes.

     
    2. BOIL the kale and leek in a large pot of water until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and transfer to a blender. Add the white parts of the green onions and 2 more tablespoons of butter. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed, 1 to 3 minutes.

    3. STIR the puréed kale mixture into the bowl of potatoes, and continue to mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    4. ADD the cream and stir until the desired texture is reached. Garnish with 2 tablespoons of butter and the green parts of the green onions. For a baked potato, the optional butter is not required. Just garnish with the green onions.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Lamb Stew For St. Patrick’s Day

    Irish Lamb Stew

    Pint Of Guinness

    Arthur Guinness

    [1] Irish lamb stew, made with pearled barley. [2] A pint of Guinness, once the world’s top-selling beer†. [3] Arthur Guinness founded the brewery in 1759. It’s the world’s oldest continuing brewery (all photos courtesy Guinness).

     

    If you like lamb, there’s no better excuse to make lamb stew than St. Patrick’s Day. Lamb shoulder, the best stew cut, is also far less pricey than lamb chops or leg of lamb.

    This traditional dish is served on St. Patrick’s Day at the restaurant in Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, which provided the recipe below. Is so easy to make, that even a young cook can throw it together.

    The Guinness Storehouse is the original property leased in 1759 by Arthur Guinness for his brewery. It’s a 9,000-year lease, by the way, leading one to wonder if the landlord refused to write a 10,000-year lease.

    The property has been converted into a museum on the history of brewing and the history of Guinness.

    RECIPE: IRISH LAMB STEW

    Note that the recipe cooks the meat and the vegetables for the same time. This creates soft vegetables, the old-fashioned style.

    If you prefer your veggies al dente, add in the vegetables after 45 minutes, but cook the full amount of stock from the beginning.

    Similarly, our mom always browned stew meat before adding it to the pot. Browning helps develop more depth of flavor; some cooks even brown the vegetables and herbs. This step isn’t required in Guinness’ recipe, so we didn’t do it; although next time we will for comparison.

    Serve the stew with a side of the pearled barley, some Irish soda bread and a Guinness (or brand of choice).

    While the stew is cooking, check out the different cuts of lamb.

     
    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 2-1/4 pounds lamb shoulder cubes
  • Bouquet garni* of parsley, thyme and bay leaf
  • 3 large onions, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 3-4 carrots, diced (if carrots are slender, you can cut coins instead)
  • 2 sticks of celery chopped
  • 1 small turnip, diced
  • 1 small leek, diced
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 pints chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons pearl* barley
  • Parsley, finely chopped
  • Garnish: sprig of thyme
  • ________________

    *See the last sections, below.

     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the meat, bouquet garni, barley, onions, carrots, celery and turnip in the pot; cover with chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for one hour.

    2. SKIM off the scum on top of the pot. Add the potatoes and continue cooking for ½ hour. For the last 5 minutes, add the leek.

    3. REMOVE the bouquet garni. Stir in the chopped parsley. Serve in bowls.

    ________________
    †According to The Street, the world’s best-selling beers are now:
    1. Snow (SABMiller/China Resources Enterprises)
    2. Tsingtao (China, Tsingtao Brewery)
    3. Bud Light (Anheuser-Busch InBev)
    4. Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch InBev)
    5. Skol (Carlsberg, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Unibra)
    6. Yanjing (Beijing Yanjing)
    7. Heinecken (Heineken International)
    8. Harbin (Anheuser-Busch InBev, China)
    9. Brahma (Anheuser-Busch InBev, Brazil)
    10.Coors Light (MolsonCoors)

    Times change: We remember back in the 1970s that Guinness was the number one beer in the world.

     

    HOW TO MAKE A BOUQUET GARNI

    A bouquet garni (French for garnished bouquet) is a bundle of herbs tied with a string. It is used in the preparation of soups, stews and stocks.

    The herbs are tied for easy removal after cooking. In situations where some ingredients can’t be tied (peppercorns or garlic cloves, for example), a small muslin drawstring bag or piece of cheesecloth is used.

    The bouquet is cooked in the pot with the other ingredients, but is removed when cooking is complete.

    There is no generic recipe for bouquet garni, but most French recipes combine bay leaf, parsley and thyme.

  • Depending on the recipe, it may also include basil, burnet, chervil, rosemary, savory and tarragon.
  • How many pieces of each? That’s up to you, similar to adding “a handful” of something. We use four of everything.
  • Vegetables such as carrot, celery (leaves or leaf stalks), celeriac, leek, onion and parsley root are sometimes included.
  • Don’t hesitate to include flavors you’d like in your recipe. In Provence, dried orange peel can be added.
  •  

    A Tip For Parsley

    Keep the parsley leaves for garnish, but tie the stalks in the bouquet garni. They have lots of flavor.
     
     
    WHAT IS PEARLED BARLEY?

    Pearl barley, or pearled barley, is barley that has been processed to remove the hull and the bran.

    All barley must have its fibrous outer hull removed before it can be eaten; but pearl barley is then polished to remove the bran layer.

     

    Bouquet Garni

    Pearled Barley

    [1] Don’t worry if your bouquet garni doesn’t look this pretty (from Recreational Witchcraft | Tumblr). [2] Pearl or pearled barley (photo courtesy BBC Good Food).

     
    With the bran removed, the barley is no longer a whole grain, but is still nutritious. Hulled barley, the whole grain form, is also known as barley groats.

    Pearl barley is still chewy and nutritious, but less so than hulled barley, which still has its bran layer.

    The polished grains are also softer and take less time to cook, about 40 minutes. That’s why pearl barley is most often used in recipes.

    You can substitute hulled barley in recipes, by adjusting for a longer cooking time.

      

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