24 August 2012
I still have a good chunk of my crock of sauerkraut hanging out in the refrigerator, so today I thought I'd bust it out and make myself a tempeh reuben.
I don't think I've ever eaten a reuben sandwich I liked before! Clearly fresh sauerkraut makes all the difference. Homemade Russian dressing helps too. Also a delicious tempeh marinade. Also a pickle on the side.
I based my reuben on The V Word's tempeh reuben recipe, complete with homemade dressing. Yay!
Tempeh reubens are pretty easy to make. Here's the general game plan:
1. Marinate tempeh.
2. Sear tempeh.
3. Make dressing.
4. Toast bread.
5. Assemble delightful sandwich.
I marinated my tempeh in a mix of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, sriracha sauce, crushed garlic, liquid smoke, and vegetable broth, with a bay leaf thrown in for good measure. You can play with the proportions to see what you like. Be careful with both the soy sauce and liquid smoke--too much of either can be a disaster. Just start slowly and things should be fine.
Cut your tempeh into appropriate sandwichy slabs and marinate it for at least an hour before cooking.
When you're ready to cook, put a frying pan over medium-high heat and add in your tempeh. Sear on both sides, adjusting the heat as needed. I like to add a ladleful of my marinade most of the way through cooking, so the tempeh can absorb even more flavor.
While you're standing around, make your dressing. I followed the exact method from the link, although I did use the non-vegan versions of the ingredients. It turns out that mayo spiked with ketchup, worcestershire sauce, sriracha, and horseradish is pretty good! Who would have thought? (Probably a lot of people who like mayo more than I do.)
When your tempeh is closing in on done, toast yourself some rye bread.
It's time to assemble! Spread your toasted bread with as much dressing as you desire. Add tempeh and sauerkraut. Sandwich everything together, making a marginal attempt to keep all the ingredients from falling all over the place.
Now eat it.
The sauerkraut and sauce are really the highlight of this sandwich. Every time I got a kick of spicy horseradish or tangy kraut, I wanted more. I could have put three times the amount of sauerkraut on this sandwich, and that would have made it three times as good. I'm very happy I followed my instinct to slosh on about twice as much sauce as I would on any other sandwich.
The reuben is substantially different from most sandwiches I eat on a regular basis. Most sandwiches I eat have no mayo anywhere near them, unless they happen to be egg salad sandwiches. Most sandwiches I eat are filled with fresh vegetables instead of fermented. Most sandwiches I eat don't make me want to have an additional bowl of sauerkraut with horseradish sauce for dessert.
So it took me a minute to really get into this sandwich, but once I did, I liked it quite a bit.
Hooray for palate expansion!