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RECIPE: Omaha Reuben Sandwich @ GFC

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

RECIPE: Omaha Reuben Sandwich

posted by snekse
Original Reuben Sandwich story and My Best Recipe
About a week ago I was contacted by the producers of "Food Wars" on The Travel Channel. They wanted to do an episode in Omaha and considered focusing on either The Reuben Sandwich, or steak. Though the steak won, it piqued my interest tremendously to determine what happened to the rich heritage of the famous sandwich and who claimed the crown from the Blackstone Hotel (purportedly the origin of the Reuben Sandwich) for having the best in Omaha. [Side Note: This *will* be a category in next year's Best-ter-est of Omaha Awards.]

I'm not sure there's a clear answer for who the successor is. Our poll was very inconclusive, however, when combined with the data from Yelp, UrbanSpoon and other resources, it looks like The Crescent Moon might have the best Reuben Sandwich in Omaha. At least as far as restaurants go...

While doing my research, I stumbled across a thing of beauty. Thick, moist, tender looking corned beef atop a dark rye bread and a nice line of sauerkraut across the top. To make things even better, there was a story behind the photo. The grandmother of the person making this work of art claimed to be the sister of a waitress who worked at the Blackstone Hotel! And to do one better, her sister: Fern Snider; the lady who can probably be credited for bringing national attention to the sandwich. Anyway, you can read Shannon's grandmother in his own words on Flickr.

I also asked Shannon if I could re-publish his photo and recipe to share here. His recipe is really more of some guiding principles, so I've condensed/paraphrased it a bit, but you can always check out his original instructions to check my accuracy. If you're a Flickr member, take some time to thank him over there.

My Best Reuben Sandwich Recipe

by shannonpatrick17

Seek out the the best ingredients to get the best flavor!
  • Try to get a point cut brisket from a real butcher or deli
  • Avoid vacuum sealed brisket from mass market grocery stores
  • Always use your own pickling spice, even if using vacuum packed brisket
  • Try making your own dressing
  • Look for artisan bread when possible

  • Beef Brisket (point cut)
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Kosher Salt
  • Hungarian Paprika (hot)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage
  • Emmental Swiss Cheese (or close substitute)
  • Some type of Rye bread (e.g. Dark Rye,Pumpernickel, Marble)
  • Russian or Thousand Island dressing

Start with a dry rub of fresh ground pepper, then apply caraway seeds, kosher salt, and hot Hungarian paprika. Brown the brisket in a large cast iron pan with a small amount of EVOO. After browning, throw in some rosemary, garlic and thyme to heat, but not scorch. Course chop half a cabbage, then add it to a slow cooker. Add the brisket with all the dripping and set the cooker to "low".

Use two pieces of a local bakery Rye bread or some variation of it. Select a Russian or 1000 Island dressing that suits the sandwich or make your own. Use an Emmental Swiss cheese or something similar that is not too sharp and without a lot of "feet" funk, such as a baby Swiss cheese. Look for something that hasn't been aged long and has smaller holes. Find a Sauerkraut you like or make your own. Be sure to drain the Sauerkraut as much as possible to avoid a soggy sandwich.

Build your sandwiches between the two pieces of bread. Ratios for balance of ingredients are important, so avoid the ginormous pile of meat you often see on TV. If you add too much, the sandwich falls apart and will not heat in the center.

Heat your sandwiches in a the large cast iron pan. If making more than 2-3 sandwiches, consider using a 2nd pan. Preheat the pan with some EVOO over medium-to-medium-high heat so the oil shimmers, not smokes. Add the sandwiches until toasty "golden brown".

Crescent Moon Alehouse @ Beer Corner USA

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