Growing up, it wasn't St. Patrick's Day in my house without a hearty Irish boiled dinner on the menu. My mom would slip a mammoth corned beef roast into a pot of water and boil it for hours until it became a stringy mess of a meal. The ruby hued meat was always served alongside boiled carrots, boiled potatoes and boiled cabbage. That's a whole lot of boiled things. And here's the deal, boiling foods in water doesn't do anything to build flavor or texture.
While many people clamor for this holiday comfort food classic dinner because it easily feeds a crowd, I've just never been a huge fan of this mushy meal, but that doesn't mean I don't love a good corned beef dinner on St. Paddy's day. I just want one that has a whole bunch of rich flavor and a little structural integrity.
The first step in cooking up the corned beef of my dreams involves removing all the water from the cooking process. Thanks to my neighbor I've become a huge fan of slathering my corned beef with a sweet mustard mixture, wrapping it in heavy duty foil and cooking it low and slow in my crock pot.
The resulting roast is anything but lackluster and perfectly suited to serving with a batch of oven roasted carrots, boiled red potatoes and a loaf of Irish soda bread, but be sure you make enough to whip up one of my ultimate Reuben sandwiches.
You will never go back to using deli meat or store bought dressing to make this retro treat with your St. Patrick's Day leftovers. In fact, this version of a diner favorite — one that's seared in a pan and finished in a hot oven — will likely spoil you on ordering a Reuben in a restaurant ever again.
The ultimate Reuben sandwich
You can serve half of this roast as part of your St. Patrick's Day dinner and refrigerate the rest for use in these indulgent sandwiches or you can make the meat for the sandwiches alone. Either way its best to start this recipe one day before you plan to serve the sandwiches; cold corned beef slices like a dream!
For the corned beef:
1-4 pound corned beef brisket
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
Heavy duty aluminum foil
For the Reuben dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
1 heaping teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
½ teaspoon each coarse pepper and salt
For the sandwich:
2 slices of dark Bavarian rye bread per sandwich
Unsalted butter at room temperature
3 slices Finlandia Swiss cheese (cut 1/8-inch thick) per sandwich
2 tablespoons of sauerkraut per sandwich (homemade or store bought)
For the corned beef: Place the corned beef, fat side up, on three large sheets of aluminum foil. Mix together the mustards, brown sugar, onion flakes and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the mustard mixture over the corned beef and wrap the entire roast tightly in the aluminum foil. Place the foil packet in a large crock pot and cook on low setting for 6 hours. Remove the packet (serve half for dinner if desired) and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating overnight. When ready to assemble the sandwiches, remove the corned beef from the refrigerator and unwrap. Slice the meat across the grain into 1/8-inch thick slices and set aside until ready to use.
For the Reuben dressing: Combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, parsley, pickle relish, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made 1 day ahead. Note: This will make enough sauce for several sandwiches. You can halve the recipe if desired or use the leftover sauce as a dip for cooked shrimp.
To assemble the Reuben sandwich: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter one side of each slice of bread and place butter side down on a cutting board. Spread each slice of bread with 1 tablespoon of the Reuben dressing. Place one slice of Swiss cheese on top of the dressing. Top the cheese on each side with 1 tablespoon sauerkraut and one or two slices of corned beef (depending on size). Place one slice of cheese on top of the meat and sauerkraut on one side of the bread. Place the halves together to make one giant sandwich; your sandwich bread will be buttered on the outside and there will be one slice of cheese in the middle of the sandwich.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is melted and hot. Carefully add the sandwich to the sizzling butter and allow the bread to brown for two minutes. Using a large spatula, carefully flip the sandwich and allow the bread to brown on the second side for two minutes. Transfer the sandwich to a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the sandwich for 25 minutes or until the cheese (especially that center slice) is gooey and melted. Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing on the diagonal into two portions.