“Behind The Dish”: Creating The TEN TEN Corned Beef Reuben

At The Bagby Restaurant Group, we talk a lot about attention to detail and doing things “the right way.” For us, “the right way” is taking time with our ingredients, preparing them properly, and making as much as we can from scratch. Even each sandwich is given thought and time. The result are dishes that highlight local ingredients and transform individual flavors into a cohesive, savory experience for our guests. Such is the case with TEN TEN’s housemade Corned Beef Reuben.

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When creating the TEN TEN Reuben, sous chef Roger Black doesn’t mess around. To start, he uses fresh sauerkraut rye bread, baked daily by Bagby’s Head Baker John Aversa. “The bread is full of good, healthy energy,” Black explains, “It’s a good start to any sandwich, but designed specifically to echo the flavors in the Reuben.”

Black’s next ingredients are the stars of the sandwich, but also the most time intensive – sauerkraut and corned beef.  For his sauerkraut, Black uses fresh local cabbage to which he adds salt, juniper berries, and caraway. The juniper and caraway here are especially unique and something that won’t be found in your ordinary can of store-bought sauerkraut. “Our thought was to make the caraway flavor (which is the main flavor in rye bread) carry throughout the sandwich, so we introduced the caraway from our bread into the sauerkraut as well.”

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Once mixed together, the cabbage sits for over three weeks, but is turned by hand weekly to make sure that undesirable bacteria doesn’t interfere with the pickling process. This procedure is not undertaken with mass-produced sauerkraut and a detail that Black is particularly passionate about. “It just doesn’t taste the same. There’s not the same level of flavor in that sauerkraut. It’s completely different.” His passion and effort translates into a beautiful ingredient – a slightly sweet, spicy, and tangy sauerkraut accented by the earthy notes of juniper and caraway.

The same care is given to curing the beef brisket for the Reuben’s corned beef. Using modern twists on classic corned beef preparation, each aspect of creating the corned beef is meant to build more and more flavor into the meat. Sous chef Black first prepares a brine of pickling spices, curing salt, kosher salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. The brisket then sits in the brine for two weeks and rotated frequently. This both tenderizes and imparts the brine’s sweet cinnamon flavor to the meat.

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When fully cured, the brisket is dried and rubbed with a toasted spice mixture of coriander, black pepper, star anise, sliced garlic, fresh red pepper, mustard seed, and bay leaves. Then vacuum sealed with some of the remaining brine and sous-vide (a slow modern method of cooking in a hot water bath) for 18 hours, the meat builds even more deliciousness as it slowly cooks in herb and spice infused juices.

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After being cooked, the corned beef is sliced and piled on top of the Sauerkraut Rye, along with the sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and TEN TEN’s bistro sauce. When you take your first bite, the different layers of flavors are staggering. From the creamy sour of the sauerkraut to the cinnamon-laced corned beef to the caraway accents throughout, each ingredient plays its part in creating a cohesive flavorful sandwich.

There is something about time and care that imparts food with a special essence. Like our grandmother’s thanksgiving supper, when effort is put into a meal, when time is taken, and each detail of preparation is considered, the flavors of the dishes build and so does our appreciation of that meal. It is this deep appreciation for good ingredients and slow, thoughtful preparation that we aim to create in our Reuben, and with every bite that we hope you will savor.

A Bagby Recipe – FSK Pumpkin Soup

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Originally featured in the Slow Food Baltimore newsletter, we thought we’d share this ambitious, yet absolutely delicious Fleet Street Kitchen recipe with our followers. If you haven’t checked out Slow Food Baltimore, they are a fantastic organization that hosts many events promoting local farms and the “slow food” movement. Now on to the recipe…

For a novice cook, this recipe may be a bit daunting. But don’t hesitate to just try it out. Learning how to cook is a process and many of the chefs in our kitchen are still learning new things about the art of cooking. They learned by doing, so don’t worry and have fun. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this post and we’ll do our best to answer.

For those who aren’t inclined to cook, we hope this recipe will give you a further appreciation of the time and precision that we spend on our food. Of course, if you’ve ever had this soup, you’ll know it’s completely worth it!

Fleet Street Kitchen Pumpkin Soup with Nutmeg Marshmallow and Pumpernickel Crumble

  • 4 oz  butter
  • 1 leek, julienned
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped Cheese Pumpkin *
  • 1 Butternut Squash, peeled and diced
  • Local Honey *
  • 1 ½ quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ pints fresh pumpkin juice (or additional vegetable or chicken stock)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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In a stainless steel pot over medium heat, add butter and let melt. Add leeks and pumpkin; cover with a lid set slightly ajar.  Sweat slowly for 15-20 minutes add honey and continue to sweat for an additional (pumpkin should not develop any color and should be 75% cooked at the point). Season with salt; add stock. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is fully cooked. Cool slightly, then transfer half the soup to a blender. Puree, while adding half the juice or stock, until very smooth. Repeat with remaining soup and juice or stock. Season with salt, white pepper, and butter to taste.

We also add sauteed butternut squash to our soup. To prepare the squash, heat a tablespoon of oil and butter in a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and the butter has melted, add the squash, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is lightly browned and tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

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*Pumpkin Juice: We create our own at Fleet Street Kitchen by juicing raw pumpkin. If you don’t have a juicer, you could blend and then strain with a fine mesh strainer. By adding additional liquid while pureeing, you get a nice velvet texture to your soup.

*Pumpkins sourced from Pine Grove Farms, located at the Waverly and Fallsway farmers market.

*Honey sourced from Triangular Apiary, located at the Fallsway farmers market.

Spiced Marshmallow

  • 7 oz grams water
  • 6 oz sugar
  • 1 tsp corn syrup
  • 1 oz egg whites
  • 3 sheets gelatin
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

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In a saucepot, bring ½ of the water, sugar and corn syrup to 248ºF. When this mixture reaches 230ºF, start whipping the egg whites in a standing mixer until foamy. Bloom the gelatin in ice-cold water. When the sugar syrup reaches 248ºF, remove from the heat and stir the gelatin in, until it is fully dissolved. While the mixer is on medium, slowly and carefully pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites.

Once the syrup is added, pour in the remaining water, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Increase the speed of the standing mixer to 9 and whip for about 12 minutes, or until the mixture is at the stiff ribbon stage. Once this texture is achieved, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large circle tip and pipe circles onto a parchment-lined sheet tray that are 3 inches in diameter. (You can use a ziploc bag with a corner cut out if you do not have a pastry bag at home.) Place in refrigerator so marshmallows can set, about 2 hours.

Pumpernickel Crumble

To create the pumpernickel crumble, process toasted dark pumpernickel bread finely in a food processer.

To Serve:

Add micro greens, pumpernickel crumble, pumpkin seed oil and grated nutmeg to bowl. Pour heated soup over ingredients.

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