Recipe: Corned Beef Reuben Dip
This warm dip is great for Football parties, or any other cooler weather gathering. It incorporates our Farmers and Cooks Corned Beef, diced small, and we used a slow cooker (shown above) instead of the oven, because this dip is best enjoyed warm.
Our Corned Beef is gently cured and hand rubbed with 15 different spices. We then slow oven-roast everything to create a mild, but rich and flavorful meat.
A short history on Corned Beef – While many people think of Saint Patrick’s day and the Irish when they think of Corned Beef, this is actually not a popular item in Ireland. This is not a preferred dish in Ireland due, in part, to their relationship with cattle as a source of field strength, milk, and dairy products. In fact, in Gaelic Ireland, cows are a symbol of wealth and a sacred animal. Therefore, they were only killed if they were too old to work or to give milk. So, only the most wealthy people would eat beef on a celebration or festival day.
The beef, which was produced, was ‘salted’ for preservation, and the first versions of this used sea ash, which is created by burning seaweed. Instead, many more people in Ireland ate bacon or pork, and this is the most eaten meat in Ireland. This diet, excluding beef, stayed the same until England conquered most of the country, and the British turned beef into a commodity by increasing beef products and adding the potato to their diet as well. Tens of thousands of cattle were exported from Ireland to England each year, until the Cattle Acts of 1663 and 1667. These stopped the export of live cattle, and flooded the Irish market. Thus lowering the cost of beef substantially, and creating a need to salt the product as well.
Even the term “corned beef” was invented by the British, not the Irish, and was first used to describe the salt crystal size for curing meat. Ireland continued to be the main producer of corned beef, due to their tax structure on salt making it much more efficient to produce it than in England. This resulted in Ireland being the corned beef ‘go-to’ for Europe and the Americas. While this export was large for Ireland, the Irish people themselves could not afford it, and relied mostly on potatoes until The Great Famine. This forced many to immigrate to the United States.
Once these Irish transplants were settled in the United States, they were making more money than they had in Ireland, so they could finally afford meat. They turned not to bacon, but to beef! This corned beef was much different from that produced in Ireland long ago, and instead came from the Jewish American population as a kosher product. The Irish threw this corned beef in a pot with their diet staple, potatoes, and the cheapest other vegetable, cabbage. So, Irish Americans transformed both Corned Beef into a celebratory meal, and St. Patrick’s Day into a celebration of their culture, heritage, and homeland, instead of the religious feast day it was previously. Today, even Ireland keeps their pubs open on the formerly religious holiday, thanks to an influx of Irish tourism. We hope you enjoy our take on this meat which is embedded in a long global history.
Corned Beef Reuben Dip
-makes enough for 10 people
1/2-3/4 pounds Farmers and Cooks Corned Beef (depending on how much meat you would like)
16 ounces sauerkraut, squeezed dry
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Thousand Island dressing
16 oz shredded Swiss cheese
Crackers – Rye Triscuits we found to be especially good
1. Place sauerkraut in a wire strainer with a heavy bowl on top to squeeze out extra liquid (We did this in the morning and left for several hours).
2. Dice Farmers and Cooks Corned Beef into small pieces.
3. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, dressing, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and corned beef.
4. We recommend heating with a slow cooker so that it can be kept warm throughout the party, but if you do not have a slow cooker, a baking dish can be used:
Right-away (not prepared in refrigerator):
Slow cooker: 1 hour on high or 3 hours on low
Oven 9 x 13 inch baking dish: 350 degrees F 20-25 minutes
Prepared in refrigerator: (Stir halfway through)
Slow cooker: 2 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low
Oven 9 x 13 inch baking dish: 350 degrees F 30-40 minutes