I love St Patrick’s Day. My mom was Irish so this was a big day in our house. I have such good memories of this day. So even though this year the holiday was on a Wednesday (had to go easy on the celebrating), I still wanted to make a dinner that would do Mom proud.
Well of course the first thing I thought of was a Reuben sandwich! We are huge fans of Reubens; as in enormous fans. And I have a secret ingredient when it comes to making my Reuben sandwiches. I have access to the most incredibly delicious corned beef you have ever tasted in your entire life. It’s from a wonderful German specialty shop in Mission, Kansas; “Werner’s Specialty Foods”. http://www.wernerswurst.com/index.html
“Werner’s” is owned by a childhood friend and his wife, David and Judy Miller. When we were kids the Miller’s house was next door to ours. Mom and Mrs. Miller were best friends. Dad and Mr. Miller were rivals when it came to their tomato plants, but great friends otherwise. My brother, John and the "Miller boys" (David and Rick) were the guys of the neighborhood. And Jenny and I, we were the youngest and bestest friends; still are. Ours was a tight knit neighborhood, as was common in those days. It was a simpler time that made true and lasting friendships.
So even though Dave is much older than I am, he’s my friend (that is until he reads this sentence). And even though he is my friend, believe me when I say the meat from his butcher shop is the best ever! From the corned beef to the thick cut bacon to the bratwurst, and knackwurst, and Italian sausages, and the polish sausages, and the bier brats, and andouille, and chorizo, and bangers, and linguisa, and so many more handmade sausages to the hams and smoked turkey, everything is just awesome.
Okay, so now you know about Werner’s. So there I was on St Patrick’s Day with a pound package of David’s thinly sliced corned beef, half a loaf of marbled rye bread, a can of sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. Well, by gosh, that looked like the makings of a Reuben sandwich to me!
I pulled out my pseudo panini grill (aka: George Forman) and heated that baby up. Then I lined up my ingredients and proceeded to make Reuben sandwiches that would make St Patrick himself weep. (Did St Patrick actually eat Reubens, do you think?) I spread a very thin layer of low fat mayonnaise on the outside of the bread (in lieu of butter) and placed those works of art onto the Forman. As I closed the lid I heard that satisfying sizzle. “Anticipation, anticipation is makin’ me late, it's keeping me waiting…”
Tater tots stood in for potato cakes that night. My energy was spent on assembling the perfect Reubens, so while tater tots are not Bob’s favorites (I love them…they’re potatoes after all and we all know how I am about potatoes) they would just have to do. He’d be appeased by his Smithwick’s beer.
I plated up our dinner and served it. As we bit into the piping hot corned beef sandwiches we both moaned a little. Then there was a big sigh. How can a sandwich be so good, I ask you? It’s crazy that the combination of those ingredients can bring a man to his knees.
St Patrick, I think I love you. Werner’s Fine Meats, I know I love you. And to the person who created the Reuben sandwich, I pay homage to you!
Happy belated St Patrick’s Day to all!