The story of the Quick Kraut Reuben begins on one fateful St. Patrick’s Day when I had fully intended on fixing Corned Beef and Cabbage (as many people do), but then made a spur-of-the-moment decision to satisfy a craving instead – the craving for a Reuben.
Since I hadn’t actually planned on making Reubens, I of course ran into a few snags. And one of them was a pretty darned big snag… I didn’t have any sauerkraut. I also didn’t have any Thousand Island dressing, or Swiss cheese, or rye bread (because eww…), but those missing elements are minor by comparison.
Sauerkraut in all of its sour cabbagey goodness kind of makes the sandwich. I mean, you can’t have a Reuben without the kraut. Literally. A Reuben without kraut is basically a corned beef and Swiss sandwich on rye – way less cool and for sure not as tasty as a Reuben.
But not to worry, I found ways around all of the missing ingredients. I simply made my own kraut. And, I subbed wheat bread for rye, shredded mozzarella for Swiss, and mayo for Thousand Island. And, thus – Quick Kraut Reubens were born!
Side note: the very first Quick Kraut Reubens were slightly lacking without the Thousand Island – still delish, but not quite as zippy. So, now when I make them and I am out of Thousand – I just go ahead and make that too.
Don’t forget the rules of food safety! Here’s the short list:
1) Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
2) Never thaw meat on the counter. Always, thaw meat in the refrigerator, microwave or cool water bath.
3) Always wash cutting boards and plates after having been in contact with raw meat.
4) Always cook to appropriate internal temperatures. Safe internal temperatures vary based on cut. Hamburger must reach a safe and savory 160 degrees, while steak is safe at 145 degrees.Print
Quick Kraut Reubens
Perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, or just any old random day!
For Quick Kraut
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 head cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 pounds fully cooked, thinly sliced Corned Beef
- Sliced wheat bread, or rye if you prefer
- Shredded mozzarella cheese, or sliced Swiss
- Butter for spreading
- Thousand Island dressing, or mayo
- In a large skillet (I used my 12 inch skillet, aka “big daddy”), heat oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering hot, add onions and sauté until fragrant. Then add cabbage and continue to sauté until the cabbage and onions become translucent.
- Pour in apple cider vinegar, water, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, and begin sandwich assembly immediately, or refrigerate for a couple of hours for better kraut flavor.*
- To build the Reubens, butter one side of two slices of bread and Thousand Island (or mayo) the opposite side. Place one slice of bread, butter side down, on a hot griddle. Top with shredded mozzarella, kraut, corned beef, more shredded mozzarella, and second piece of bread Thousand Island (or mayo) side down. Cook on griddle until bread is a crispy golden brown, flip and cook other side to crispy golden brown.
- Repeat until you have the number of Reubens you desire or you run out of corned beef, whichever comes first. Serve immediately with your choice of side.
- *We always up with way more kraut than we needed for our Reubens, but the leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen for later use.
Pat Skwarek says
We had Reubens for St Pat’s too! My husband says I make a pretty good one, although yours sound pretty tasty in a pinch. Of course we are spoiled as we can get to the store. I roasted my corned beef on Sunday and cooked it like I would a beef roast. By Tuesday we were ready for sandwiches and the meat is nice and tender when you cook it that way. I have to have my thousand island though yours sound good. I will have to try the homemade kraut sometime. My old neighbor gave me the recipe for sautéed cabbage with butter and bread crumbs. It is pretty yummy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.