One of my favorite sandwiches is a great reuben. I love them with pastrami or corned beef, and on just about any type of bread. The other day I decided to make one for myself using sous vide corned beef. Cooking the corned beef sous vide results in very tender, but still firm, corned beef which is perfect for a great reuben. Just add some good rye bread that is toasted, sauerkraut, gruyere cheese, and some thousand Island dressing and you're all set.
This recipe is also in our book, available at Amazon.com Sous Vide: Help for the Busy Cook or as a full-color PDF.
Making these sous vide corned beef reubens is pretty easy. You start with cured corned beef, rinse it well, and cook it for several days at 135°F (57°C). I usually include the spice packet that often comes with the corned beef for added flavor. I've also done corned beef at 146°F (63°C) which was a little more tender and slightly drier but worth experimenting with.
Once the sous vide corned beef is done cooking you remove it from the pouch. Be sure to taste it at this point since it can become pretty salty during the long cooking process. If it's too salty place the corned beef in a ziploc bag and add enough water to cover it. Put it back in the sous vide machine for a few hours and the water will pull more salt out of the meat.
For this reuben I choose not to sear the sous vide corned beef but if you want to do so just pat it dry and sear it on a hot grill or in a hot pan. Then slice the corned beef. Because it is so tender when cooked sous vide I like to cut it into thicker slabs, about ½" to 1" thick, which I believe I first had at The Old Spot in Salem Mass. Of course, you can always cut it into the more traditional thin slices if you'd like.
For the bread I used fresh baked rye bread from the local bakery which I brushed with olive oil and toasted until it browned. Then I added gruyere cheese to both sides and put them under the broiler until the cheese got nice and bubbly. Some Thousand Island dressing and good Dijon mustard rounded out the flavorings.
I added the sous vide corned beef slabs to the reubens and topped them with sauerkraut, then cut them down the middle. I served them with some homemade steak fries which were simply potato wedges tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and aleppo chile powder (any chile powder would work) and baked at 400°F until tender.
All in all it turned out to be a great lunch that came together really fast, earning the recipe a place in our new book.
Ingredients for Sous Vide Corned Beef Reuben
- 2 to 3 pounds cured, uncooked corned beef
- Pickling packet or bay leaf (optional)
- 8 slices rye bread
- 8 slices gruyere cheese
- 1 cup Thousand Island dressing
- good Dijon mustard
- 1 cup sauerkraut
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Cooking Instructions for Sous Vide Corned Beef Reuben
Place the corned beef in a sous vide pouch with any included spices then seal.
At this point you can store the pouch in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, freeze it for up to 6 months, or cook it right away.
At least 1 to 3 days before serving
Preheat the water bath to 135°F (57°C).
Place the pouch in the water bath for 1 to 3 days.
For more information on the cooking times you can read my detailed article which addresses why is there a range in sous vide cooking times.
Remove the sous vide corned beef from the water bath and cut into ½" to 1" slabs.
Brush one side of the bread slices with olive oil and toast until browned. Place the cheese on the slices and toast in a toaster oven or an oven with the broiler on until the cheese melts.
Add the Thousand Island dressing to four of the slices and the mustard to the other four. Add the sous vide corned beef to the slices with mustard and top with the sauerkraut. Place the two halves together, cut down the middle, and serve.
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