18 March 2014

Corned Beef, Havarti & Sauerkraut Panini

Another St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, leaving our refrigerator filled with odd ends of corned beef, boiled potatoes, sauerkraut and roasted cabbage.  Yessssss.  The timing is perfect for fantastic leftover creations with all the bold flavors of your traditional corned beef dinner.  Time for pot pie, Irish-inspired omelets and my take on the classic reuben.

So how does this panini differ from a reuben?  The ways are four:
1.  No thousand island dressing
2.  No swiss cheese
3.  No rye bread
4.  Extra cabbage

Why do I eliminate these classics?  To replace them with stuff I like better, of course!  Having never been a fan of thousand or swiss, I prefer to use horseradish and havarti with caraway.  The horseradish adds a great little kick and is fantastic with the briny sauerkraut.  As for havarti...well, when is this buttery, decadent cheese ever a bad idea?  Especially when riddled with tiny flecks of caraway.  Too good for words.  (Sorry swiss, you don't stand a chance.)

As for the rye...that one's kind of a cheat.  I didn't feel like stopping by the store after a especially irksome day at the office and opted to use our homemade whole wheat.  But both are delicious, and I recommend using whatever you prefer or have on hand.  Finally, the cabbage is my genius idea to avoid the dreaded soggy flop of a reuben.  Everyone's had that sloppy sandwich...no fun. The cooked cabbage creates a protective barrier for the bread, preventing it from becoming over-saturated.   Plus the crisp bread is a great textural component with the soft kraut and hearty corned beef.  It's an easy little fix and adds a bit of health to this succulent sammy.

Corned beef is on sale now, right?  Hmmm...I think another round of holiday eating my be in order....

Corned Beef, Havarti & Sauerkraut Panini (2 servings)
  • 4 slices whole wheat or rye bread
  • 5-6 ounces corned beef
  • 2 leaves cabbage, cooked
  • 3-4 tbs sauerkraut, well drained
  • 2 ounces havarti (with caraway or regular)
  • horseradish (optional)
Preheat a panini press to high or grill pan to medium.  While the cooking surface heats, make the sandwich.  Butter one side of each bread slice and place butter-side down on a cutting board, then spread the other side with horseradish (if desired).  Top two with a leaf of cabbage and enough sauerkraut to satisfy your craving.  Cover with a generous slice of both havarti and corned beef, then top with the remaining slices of bread.

Place the sandwich in the panini press or on the pan.  Cook until golden on both sides and cheese has melted.  Serve hot.

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