Regular readers will remember that the Earth Fare store located in Bearden in Knoxville serves delicious hot soups, including a fantastic Reuben soup based upon the famous deli sandwich of the same name. With some effort, a recipe to prepare essentially the same at home has been concocted by your friendly, neighborhood Knoxville Gourmet Food Examiner, and this recipe, provided below, provides an option for improvement: hearty, homemade rye noodles that really round out the Reuben-sandwich-in-a-bowl experience.
For those that don't know, a Reuben sandwich is a true deli classic built from corned beef piled high with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on rye, slathered in Russian or Thousand Islands dressing and served hot from the grill. It's really a great sandwich. As a soup, it scratches all the delicious itches that a Reuben sandwich does but in a different heart-warming kind of way that only soups can provide. Despite the long list of ingredients, this soup is actually very easy to throw together, so don't be daunted by the list!
Recipe: Reuben noodle soup with homemade rye noodles - Ingredients
- 1 to 1 1/2 lb. cooked corned beef brisket, chopped (follow the link to see another great recipe using corned beef that you can use to end up with some leftover corned beef);
- 1 1/2 c. sauerkraut, drained (e.g. Boar's Head brand, available at Knoxville-area Kroger stores);
- 1/2 sliced onion;
- 2 ribs celery, sliced;
- 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped;
- 2 tsp. sweet paprika (follow this link to see more suggestions for using paprika);
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste (e.g. Muir Glen Organic)
- 2 tbsp. butter;
- 1 tbsp. deli-style mustard;
- 3 tbsp. hot sauce;
- 1 tbsp. sugar;
- 1 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 tbsp. fresh thyme);
- 2 quarts (8 c.) chicken stock (follow this link to see how to make your own from scratch);
- 1 1/2 c. half and half;
- 1 c. shredded Swiss cheese;
- Salt and pepper, to taste;
- Whole caraway seeds, as a garnish;
- 1 recipe for homemade rye noodles, below.
For the homemade rye noodles, the ingredients are:
- 3/4 c. rye flour;
- 1/4 c. whole wheat flour;
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour;
- 1 tsp. granulated salt (preferably sea salt);
- 1 c. water.
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot and add the onion and celery and some saltonce the pot is hot. Saute those vegetables until the onions become translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and paprika and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, stir well, and then add the stock, thyme, some pepper, the mustard, and the hot sauce. Stir to combine and dissolve the tomato paste and then bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes to let the flavors combine. This is when you should prepare the noodle dough.
- To prepare the noodle dough, combine the ingredients in a bowl until they come together into a dough. Roll that dough out onto a clean counter top and knead until it is relatively smooth and well mixed. The proper technique for kneading is to fold the dough in half, press hard down and away, turn it 90 degrees, and repeat. When it gets really tough that way, squeeze it and form it back into a ball and repeat the entire process. After approximately 10-15 minutes of kneading, set the ball of dough back into the bowl to let it rest. If the dough is too sticky, flour your hands and the surface to help keep it from sticking and to help dry it out a little.
- Add the corned beef and sauerkraut along with the sugar. Let the pot come back to a boil.
- When the pot is boiling again, repeat the folding and pressing kneading motion once more to make the dough ball very firm, and then use a very sharp, large knife in a shaving motion (see this link for instructions and a link to a video demonstrating the noodle-shaving process) to cut noodles from the dough ball directly into the boiling soup. Note: This takes practice to do well, so as an alternative, you can roll the ball of dough out to very thin instead of kneading it again and cut noodles with a knife or pizza cutter on your floured counter top.
- After the last noodles have cooked for about 3-4 minutes, add the half and half. Follow it with the Swiss cheese, which should be added in roughly four equal portions and stirred through after each addition. Taste and adjust the seasonings, particularly the salt.
- Serve hot in bowls, garnished with a few caraway seeds.
Alternative: If making the noodles unnerves you a little, this recipe will work fine without them with just one other change: use two cups less stock. If desired, make homemade rye flatbreads or a loaf of rye, which you could then toast, to serve on the side. The recipe for flatbreads would be essentially the same as the one on the link, using all water in place of yogurt and following the same rough proportions of flours as for the noodles, indicated above.
Want a good Reuben sandwich in the Knoxville area? Try Hot Rod's 50's Diner: their Reuben Club is excellent, as are many other of their foods (it's hard to get the Reuben there because the burgers are so good, but the awesome fries go with just about anything). Hot Rod's is located at 373 Hannum Street in Maryville.
Buy it locally! All of the ingredients in this soup are easily obtainable in the Knoxville area, particularly at Knoxville-area Kroger stores. For top-notch paprika at a discount, keep your eyes open at Knoxville T.J. Maxx stores in their gourmet food aisle, and if they don't have it, pick some up at the Knoxville locations of The Fresh Market or Earth Fare.
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