For some reason almost all our consumption of tempeh happens in sandwiches. It’s not that it isn’t great in a number of Asian dishes, more that it’s the only really meaty filling that stands in when necessary for the real thing. When pork and beef subs are necessary, tofu just doesn’t cut the mustard (excuse my pun) and having seitan between two slices of bread is tantamount to pretty much having a bread sandwich – being as it is essentially flour.
We tried this once one boxing day when we were living in Vancouver and then Theresa suggested going to the sales at one of the big out of town malls. The feeling that I’d eaten my weight in bread combined with insane crowds, artificial lights and no air made for a bad afternoon. Subsequently out of town malls and seitan-bread combo’s were struck-off.
Everyone knows that America is the motherland of the burger. But I never realised until we ended up closeby in Canada (close enough for some stuff to translate to café and restaurant menu’s where we were) how much work they’ve done on the humble sandwich. OK, it was us that invented it, well, actually it was apparently the Earl of Sandwich. However, like so many other things we invented, since that time we’ve really sat back and done nothing else. Think football, tennis, or the cheese sandwich that was, until recently, more or less one of three options at most cafes (the other two being the Egg Sandwich, then probably the corination chicken sandwich).
So with Theresa’s help I’m branching out from the cheese sandwich that I took to school for lunch for at least seven years and have been experimenting over previous posts with the likes of the Muffalleta and the Sloppy Joe and now the Reuben. Of Jewish-America origin it’s a really intriguing combination of flavours that work to give a strong punchy sandwich that we ate as a meal in itself with some potato salad on the side. You don’t need anything else as though as the sandwich includes enough of a range of flavours to be truly satisfying.
Tempeh Reuben Sandwich (makes about 3 large ones)
For the Tempeh Marinade
1 packet/434g tempeh
1 1/3 cups apple juice
¼ cup olive oil
3 tbs soya sauce
2 tbs wholegrain mustard
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2.Cut the tempeh cakes into 2” wide strips, then cut horizantly down the middle to make half the thickness. Steam them for about 10 minutes, then place in a small baking pan.
3.Whisk the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the tempeh. It should pretty much cover the tempeh in the pan, if not, choose a smaller one.
4. Place the tray, uncovered, in the oven for 30-40
minutes or until all the liquid is pretty much evaporated and the tempeh is nice and brown.
To make the reuben dressing
6-8 dill pickles (Gherkins) chopped very small
2 tbs vegan (or real) Mayonaise
2 tbs ketchup (or the like)
To assemble the sandwiches use liberally the following:
sliced swiss cheese (such as Gruyere, Emmental or Havarti)
Get a good soft rye bread and lightly toast. Spread the bottom slices lightly with more mustard (if desired) and arrange the tempeh pieces on top. Now add the Reuben dressing, followed by the swiss cheese and suerkraut.
Serve with a good potato salad and your favourite soda.