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Reuben Sandwich Soup

Category: Soups

From Sandwich to Soup!

One of the suggestions on my “stuff that should be soup” post was a Reuben Sandwich. I’m sure it’s been done before, but I still wanted to create something from scratch that would bring this sandwich into the soup world. And MAN - I think I’m realizing that soup has the ability to bring flavors out of other recipes that you would NEVER get from the original. 

This soup takes the sandwich over the top. But first a little history. This is without question an Americanized sandwich with global roots. Supposed a little New York Jewish deli called “Reuben’s.” I mean, it makes sense. So many good things come out of humble New York Jewish deli’s. Obviously, it was a hit. 

My soup is going to draw on both Jewish and German culture, because there is really a little bit of both going on this dish. Which may be offensive to some, but I think it’s a beautiful way to bridge cultures that also have a painful history.

I started by making a rye bread from scratch so that I can have croutons to finish the dish. I make my own German seasoning, which is heavy on caraway. You can make your own, too, just make sure the caraway stands out. From there, I add salt, pepper, garlic, dill, coriander - all the good stuff. Totally up to you. Let your palate be your guide! 

The seasoning also seeks to mimic some of the flavors I want to pull out of the sandwich into the soup. Instead of pastrami which is typically made from brisket, I’m using some gorgeous boneless short ribs that I season with the German seasoning. It’s a killer replacement for the seasoning that goes into the slow cooked pastrami, and works like magic in the dish. 

Because it’s a soup, I also wanted to add some ingredients to beef it up (besides the beef!). So that’s where the celery, carrots and potatoes come in. I also introduced the German sausage to pull out a little more flavor from the fattiness of the pork (this is where I should probably apologize to my German friends, lol). 

Altogether, this recipe will take you a hot minute. But it’s worth it, I promise. And of course - you don’t NEED to make your own rye bread. But shoot… it’s so much better… ;) 

The Fat Pastor’s Reuben Sandwich Soup

For The Soup: 

1 Tbl. Olive Oil 

8 oz. German bratwurst, raw not cooked

2 Lbs. boneless short ribs

3 Tbl. Fat Pastor Seasoning, divided

1 stick Celery, Chopped

2 Carrots, Chopped

1 Cup German Beer 

3 Cups Sauerkraut 

10 cups Chicken Broth

3 medium Yukon potatoes, cut into 1” pieces

Russian Sauce: 

Combine the following: 

1/2 Shallot, finely minced

5 Tbl. Mayonnaise

2 Tbl. Ketchup

1 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 Tbl. Lemon Juice

1/2 Tsp. Tabasco or other hot sauce 

Salt & Pepper To Taste

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

In a dutch oven over medium high heat, add 1 Tbl. Olive oil and cook the bratwurst. Remove from the pot and set aside. Season the boneless short ribs with German seasoning, and sear each side. 

Remove the short ribs, and add the celery and carrots. Cook until slightly browned. Add the beer and deglaze. Allow to cook until reduced by 1/3. 

Add the chicken broth, sauerkraut and remaining German seasoning. Add the German sausage and boneless short ribs back in, bring to a boil, cover and then place in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes. 

Carefully remove the pot from the oven, and add the potatoes. Cover, and place back in the oven for an additional 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Remove the pot, and carefully shred/pull the short ribs with a couple of forks. Check for seasoning, and adjust as needed. 

To serve, place some of the soup in a bowl. Top with shredded Swiss cheese, more sauerkraut, and rye bread croutons. Drizzle with Russian sauce, and serve. 

Rye Bread: 

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

3 Tbl. Mashed Potato Flakes 

2 Tbl. Fat Pastor German Seasoning

1 1/2 Tbl. Brown Sugar

2 1/2 Tsp. Yeast

1 Cup Warm Water

1/4 Cup Canola Oil 

1/4 Cup Pickle Juice (preferably real, fermented pickles)


Place unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, mashed potato flakes, Fat Pastor seasoning or German seasoning, brown sugar, and yeast, in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn mixer to low and thoroughly mix dry ingredients. Beat warm water, canola oil, and pickle juice into dry ingredients.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead until dough comes together. It may still be a bit shaggy, and that’s okay. Cover bowl with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap and knead with the dough hook until smooth, firm, and only slightly sticky, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth, 1 to 2 more minutes.

Form dough into a ball. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel set into a warm place, and let rise until nearly double, about 1 hour.

Grease a 5x9-inch loaf pan. Turn dough onto a lightly oiled surface, shape into a log, and place into the prepared loaf pan. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until top of dough has risen slightly over the top of the pan, 60 to 90 minutes.

Place rack in the middle of the oven; preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake loaf in preheated oven until golden brown and cooked through, about 35-40 minutes. The internal temperature of the bread should be 190 degrees F. If loaf browns too quickly, cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil with the shiny side out. Remove loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

To make croutons, cut or tear rye bread into desired shapes. Toss with olive oil, and a little more German seasoning, and place in a 425 degrees F oven for 20 minutes or until crisp. 

Reuben Sandwich Soup
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