CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Reuben Egg Rolls and Thousand Island Dipping Sauce
Chef Jill Aker-Ray
This irresistible twist on the classic Reuben sandwich features shatteringly crisp egg roll wrappers stuffed with salty corned beef, briny sauerkraut, nutty Swiss cheese and a pinch or two of caraway seed to mimic rye bread. Dip in homemade Thousand Island or serve with horseradish, wasabi, or spicy brown mustard.
Reuben egg rolls for St. Patrick’s Day
The recipe includes instructions for deep frying or baking the egg rolls.
For the Reuben Egg Rolls:
24-36 egg roll wrappers
1½ to 2 pounds thickly sliced deli corned beef
1 packed cup sauerkraut (preferably not canned)
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)
2-3 inches of peanut, canola or vegetable oil in a high-sided, heavy-bottomed pan
For the Thousand Island Dressing:
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
¼ cup minced sweet onion
3 tablespoons ketchup
pinch of cayenne pepper
To Prepare the Thousand Island Dipping Sauce:
Use a fork or whisk to combine all of the dressing ingredients. Scrape into a container with a tight fitting lid and let it rest in the refrigerator while you prepare the egg rolls.
To Prepare the Reuben Egg Rolls:
Place the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse over the sink. Squeeze as much excess liquid from the sauerkraut as you can, then transfer it to a cutting board and coarsely chop it so the largest pieces are ¼-inch big. Put this in a large mixing bowl.
Coarsely chop the corned beef so that the largest pieces are no bigger than ¼-inch. Transfer the corned beef to the mixing bowl with the chopped sauerkraut, add the shredded Swiss cheese and the caraway seed (if using.) Use your hands to toss the ingredients together so that everything is evenly combined.
Set the mixing bowl next to a clean cutting board that is set up with a small bowl with fresh water in it (for moistening the egg roll wrapper edges) and your pile of egg roll wrappers. On the other side of the cutting board, you should have a clean pan to hold your rolled-but-not-yet-cooked egg rolls.
Place a single egg roll wrapper with one point facing toward you and one away. Dip your finger in the bowl of water and moisten the two edges farthest away from you. Scoop ¼-cup of the corned beef filling onto the egg roll wrapper just slightly closer to you than the center of the wrapper. You can use your hands to slightly compress the filling together if you find it is too loose. Lift the tip of the wrapper closest to you and fold it up and over the filling. Use this to help compress the filling but do it gently so you don’t spring a leak in your wrapper. Fold the points on either edge toward the center like an envelope, then -using your hands to tuck in the edges as you go-roll the egg roll away from you until the whole thing is a tight cylinder. Try to avoid holes in the wrapper as they can cause leaking melted cheese and therefore splattering during the frying process. Gently press the final edge to help seal it and lay it on the clean pan you prepared for it. Repeat until the filling is used up.
You will get anywhere between 24 and 36 egg rolls depending on how consistent you are with filling the wrappers and how much snacking you do of the filling while you roll them.
To Deep Fry the Reuben Egg Rolls (Preferred Method):
Bring the frying oil to 350°F. (*See Notes) When it reaches temperature, carefully lower as many egg rolls into the oil as you can fit without overcrowding the pan. The egg rolls should be able to move around the pan as they cook. Cook the egg rolls for about 3 minutes, flipping once or twice with tongs during the cooking, or until they are golden brown. Keep in mind they will darken somewhat when removed from the oil, so don’t cook them until they’re dark golden brown. You may find some of them don’t want to stay flipped when you flip them which would prevent one side from cooking to crispy perfection. If this happens, use the tongs to hold the uncooked side in the oil for a few seconds to help the process.
Transfer the cooked egg rolls to a pan lined with several layers of paper towels. Let rest for at least a minute before serving with Thousand Island Dip or the dressing or sauce of your choice..
To Bake the Reuben Egg Rolls:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray both sides of the finished egg rolls with non-stick cooking spray and lay them -not touching- on a baking sheet. Bake until the wrappers are golden brown and the Swiss cheese is melted inside. While these are definitely best hot, they are also good at room temperature.
Leftovers can be frozen on a sheet pan then transferred to a freezer bag and reheated in a 350°F oven until heated through.
*If you have a deep fryer you can definitely use it for this recipe, just set the oil temperature to 350°F and fry when it comes to temperature!