For many people, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day means cooking corned beef and cabbage. I have to confess, neither of these items tops my list of favorite foods. I’ve tried several recipes for this classic Irish dish, but all have produced a less-than-appetizing result. Try though I might, I find the common method for cooking corned beef to be totally unappealing. Ultimately, boiling an otherwise tough hunk of beef all day and serving it with limp, overcooked cabbage just isn’t my idea of good food. I know I’m bucking tradition here, but maybe it’s time to change things up a bit.
With that in mind, I decided to create a dressed up version of corned beef & cabbage with an inspired twist: Corned Beef & Sauerkraut Panini.
I love the corned beef raised by family owned Stemple Creek Ranch in Tomales, California. Their beef is raised and finished free range on organic pasture, and the quality of the meat is unsurpassed. Their corned beef is made from premium round roast cured in a special blend of traditional Irish seasonings by San Francisco-based Roberts Corned Meats, which is the oldest corned beef company in San Francisco with over 100 years in business. It is available for a limited time each year at their farmers market booth (Sundays year round at the Marin Civic Center), and can also be ordered direct from their webstore. In a pinch, I have also found very good nitrate-free, pre-cooked corned beef at Trader Joes.
Instead of boiled cabbage, which is nearly devoid of nutritional value, I opted to ferment a fresh batch of organic Savoy Cabbage & Dill Sauerkraut with my new Kraut Source device. Using raw cultured sauerkraut is not only tastier and healthier, but also keeps the crunch of the cabbage intact. If you don’t have time to ferment your own, I highly recommend Farmhouse Culture’s Garlic-Dill Sauerkraut (available in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods and other fine natural foods markets).
Layered with garlic mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, caramelized sweet onions, and gooey melted Swiss cheese on an artisan roll, this grilled Irish-Italian sandwich may just sway you to start a new St. Patrick’s Day tradition!
FARMINISTA’S CORNED BEEF & SAUERKRAUT PANINI (serves 4)
*Printable Recipe here: Farminista’s Corned Beef & Sauerkraut Panini
1 lb. chilled precooked, uncured & nitrate-free corned beef (*Pocino brand at Trader Joes is delicious!)
1 medium-large sweet onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dill sauerkraut
4 tablespoons garlic mayonnaise
8 teaspoons Dijon mustard
8 slices Swiss cheese
4 “torta-style” artisan sandwich rolls
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onion and reduce heat to medium-low. Sauté onions, stirring infrequently, until golden brown and caramelized (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Place the chilled corned beef on a cutting board and slice thinly on the grain. Remove excess fat. Set aside.
To assemble each sandwich:
- Cut artisan rolls in half. Spread one half of the roll with 1 tablespoon garlic mayonnaise, and the other half with 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.
- Layer one half of the roll as follows: a slice of Swiss cheese, 3 tablespoons sauerkraut, sliced corned beef, and some caramelized onion. Finish with another slice of Swiss cheese. Place remaining half of the roll on top.
3. Preheat a panini maker to high heat. Brush the top of the sandwich bun lightly with olive oil and place oil side down on the panini grill. Brush the remaining top of the bun with olive oil and close the panini grill, pressing the sandwich between the hot surfaces. Grill for 3 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sandwich is golden brown.
Enjoy with a small side salad or chips and a glass of your favorite Irish beer!