Reuben Soup

Friday 26 March 2021


Reuben Soup

I have a confession to make. I adore Reuben Sandwiches. There is not a much tastier sandwich than the classic  Reuban, rye bread piled high with plenty of shaved salty corned beef or pastrami, tangy sauerkraut and rich melted cheese. Lets not forget the Thousand Island Dressing.

This delicious soup recipe takes all of those flavors and combines them in one tasty creamy bowl, perfect to enjoy on these first chilly, often rainy, days of spring.

Reuben Soup 

These days can be a bit damp and chilly, the perfect kind of soup weather. And this is one very delicious bowl of soup!   I have veer a bit of course from the traditional Rueben soup however, but hear me out.

I did not have any sauerkraut to use today. Instead I used cabbage. I thought it would work well in it's place, with the exception of it not being sour. 


I cooked the cabbage until it was meltingly tender, almost buttery, along with some onions and a tiny bit of garlic.  It smelled gorgeous.  I do so love the smell of cabbage. I know not everyone does, but I do. 

 I got meltingly tender cabbage, no tang, but the addition of a bit of caraway seed more than made up for that.

Reuben Soup 

I used Pastrami.  Corned beef and pastrami are quite different actually even though they may seem quite similar and are often used interchangeably.

Corned beef is usually made using beef brisket.  Brisket comes from the lower chest of the animal, whereas pastrami comes from the deckle, which is a lean wider shoulder cut, or the navel, a smaller juicier section below the ribs.

Reuben Soup 

Both are brined before they are cooked. Both are rubbed with and submerged in a solution of salt and spiced, and left to cure for a period of time. This helps to infuse the meat with more moisture and flavor.

Commonly a mixture of salt, sugar, black pepper, cloves, coriander, bay leaves, juniper berries, and dill, as well as the preservatives sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite will be used.

Reuben Soup 

The real difference comes in the coating which is used to cover the surface of pastrami after brining.  Corned beef is generally left naked, although it is often simmered with a variety of spices when cooking it.

Pastrami has a spice coating of black pepper, coriander and mustard seeds, fennel seeds and often garlic. This gives it that darker outside color. 

They also differ in the manner of cooking.

Reuben Soup 

Corned beef is boiled, whilst Pastrami is smoked, over hardwood.  A pan of water is often kept nearby to create steam and keep the meat tender and moist.

So you can see, whilst being very similar in flavor and often used interchangeably, they are also very different.

Reuben Soup 

As I said, today I used Pastrami because that is what I had and I have to say it turned out delicious. 

Everything was simmered for a time in chicken broth.  The pastrami, the cabbage, garlic, caraway  . . . 

Reuben Soup 

The creaminess comes not from adding any milk or cream, but by the clever use of a bit of flour for thickening.  

I added some gruyere cheese at the end (swiss) and of course a touch of Thousand Island Dressing.  What would a Reuben be without Thousand Island Dressing?

I also sprinkled some of the cheese on top of the soup to serve.

Reuben Soup 

I didn't have any rye bread or I would have added some rye bread croutons, which would have added even more to the authenticity of it.  Buttery rye bread crunch, just like the sandwich.

If you have some rye bread, do make yourself some crunchy rye croutons.  Just butter the bread lightly, cut into shapes and then toast them in a hot oven until golden and crisp. It won't take long, maybe about 10 minutes at about 200*C/400*F will do the trick.

Reuben Soup

Instead we enjoyed it with some crusty bread on the side, torn into pieces and lightly buttered.  Oh my, but I do so adore a crusty loaf when served with soup. Truth be told I adore a crusty loaf any time! 

I really hope you will give this rather unconventional version of  reuben soup and that you will enjoy it as much as we did. Rich, creamy, delicious and wonderfully hearty!  Perfect for a cooler spring day!

Creamy Reuben Soup

 Reuben Soup

Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 10 Mincook time: 25 Mintotal time: 35 Min
Hearty and comforting. We loved this.


  • 1 TBS unsalted butter (Only because the pastrami is salty)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seed (or less if you are not fond of it)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 TBS plain flour
  • 1/2 pound sliced pastrami, rolled up and cut into slivers
  • 1 1/4 litre of chicken stock (5 cups)
  • 30g thousand island salad dressing (1/4 cup)
  • 130g of grated gruyere cheese (1 cup Swiss) divided
  • minced chives or parsley to garnish


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cabbage.
  2. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until beginning to soften without browning.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add the caraway and the flour and cook for a minute.
  5. Stir in the chicken stock and corned beef and bring to the boil.
  6. Reduce to a slow simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes to meld all the flavours and make sure the cabbage is nice and soft.
  7. Stir in half the cheese along with the salad dressing. Stir to melt the cheese.
  8. Ladle into hot bowls and garnish with the remaining cheese and minced chives or parsley.
  9. Serve immediately. Crusty bread or rye bread goes very well with this.
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Reuben Soup

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