Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reuben in a Bowl from Heath-Bent

In March, I bought a corned beef brisket and I finally got around to cooking.  I knew I wanted to make it in the slow cooker, so I did some searching and came across this recipe from Martha Stewart.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to cook the cabbage as the recipe instructed because I wouldn't be home from work to add the vegetables to the cooker.  It must have been meant to be that I make the beef on the day that I did, as I came across a recipe from Health-Bent for Reuben in a Bowl that very afternoon.  

The Health-Bent recipe has you cook your corned beef in the oven, but when I found this recipe, my brisket was already cooking away in my slow cooker. To do that really all I did was place the brisket in the slow cooker, covered it with the pickling spice that was included with the brisket, and added water until the brisket was nearly covered.  That's it.  I cooked it on low for 8 hours.   Here is the end result.  Its not terribly pretty on the outside, but once you cut into it, you see the pretty red of yummy corned beef.  

Yummy corned beef!
As found this recipe on the day I was cooking the corned beef, I wanted to try to use what I had on hand.  I had a napa cabbage that I needed to cook.  I can tell you now that napa cabbage will not work for the cabbage component of this recipe.  It is too delicate.  This is what you will end up with if you try  the quick kraut recipe with napa cabbage.

This is a whole napa cabbage.

The flavors of kraut were there, but very concentrated.  I went to the grocery store and got a small green cabbage and tried again.  

I set up my food processor with its slicing blade.  My slicing blade lets you adjust the cut width.  I set mine at #1.  I cut the cabbage in to quarters and removed the hard core from each quarter and fed it through the food processor.  

Make sure to use the largest bowl you have for your food processor.  My bowl is 14 cups and it was full, so if yours is smaller, you may have to do batches depending on the size of your cabbage.

I added the cabbage to my 12 inch covered skillet and added the salt, apple cider vinegar and homemade beef broth (that I now make in my pressure cooker) to the pan over medium heat.  I gave everything a good stir and set a timer for 20 minutes.  I came back and stirred the cabbage a few times during that 20 minutes.  

While your cabbage is cooking, you can mix up the "Thousand Island" Dressing.  I needed to make some olive oil mayo and decided to try using my immersion blender for the first time for this task.  If you haven't tried making mayo with an immersion blender, give it a try.  It is so quick and you don't have to hold a measuring cup of oil over a food processor forever.  I didn't even wait for the egg to come to room temperature.  Here is a video that shows how it's done.  I used he same recipe from Well Fed as I do when I've made it in the food processor, but just subtracted the 1/4 cup starter oil.  I used a clean Bubbie's sauerkraut jar to mix up the mayo so it was ready for storage when I was done.  Time will never be my excuse again for not making mayonnaise.    

Once, I had my mayonnaise, I gathered the ingredients for the dressing.

I've now made two batches of this dressing.  The first time, I hand chopped up the capers and pickles which gave it more of the texture that I'm used to for Thousand Island Dressing.  The second time, I was feeling lazy, so I put all of the dressing ingredients into my mini chopper and let it do the work.  The texture was smoother than I'm used to but all of the flavors are the same.  

If you're not lazy, you basically chop up the capers and pickles, and mix them in with the mayonnaise  tomato paste, salt and pepper.  

The hand chopped batch.  
Here is the finished hand chopped batch of the thousand island dressing.

When the cabbage was finished, I assembled my Reuben in a Bowl.  

This bowl was made with my mini-chopper batch of Thousand Island.
To really get this dish to taste like a Reuben, you need to mix everything together so you get all the flavors together as you would taking a bite of a sandwich.

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  The corned beef I used was Boar's Head brand.  While not completely preservative free, it was gluten free and did not have added sugars.  I bought it at Central Market which is a more gourmet minded grocery store in town.  I'm not certain if they are available all the time.  I've misplaced my receipt  so I can't say how much I paid for it, but I think it was around $20 for a 3 pound brisket.  Sorry.  The remainder of the ingredients can be found pretty inexpensively at your "big box" grocery store.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:  I used my slow cooker for the corned beef.  It took me 5 minutes to prep it for cooking and I cooked it on low for 8 hours.  The cabbage took 6 minutes to cut and shred using the food processor and 20 minutes to cook.  I did not get a preparation time on the dressing.  Making the mayonnaise with the immersion blender took less than 5 minutes.  I would say that the dressing did not take more than 10 minutes to make after preparing the mayonnaise even with hand chopping.  

Clean Up:  Everything I used except for my pan and wooden spoon went into the dishwasher.  You may want to make sure your dishwasher is empty when you start this dish.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!   Who needs bread?  I don't!  This recipe gives me all of the flavor of a tasty Reuben that I crave at times without the gluten.  I was really surprised at how much the cabbage really had a good kraut flavor.  I grew up on sauerkraut, and I can eat quite a bit of it, but if I make the quick kraut again, I'll probably make a half batch.  The dressing on its own would be great for a salad or over really any meat.  If I make a corned beef again in the future, I will use the simple crock pot method I used with this one.  

What's great about the Reuben in a Bowl is that with the exception of the dressing, you can assemble it  with pre-prepared items.  Health-Bent suggests store bought pastrami.  If you have some good kraut already on hand, use it.