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looking for a typical 'delicatessen' recipe please?

  • f

Hi - I need to recreate a typical 'delicatessen' recipe for a project? What would you say is a typical deli food? I was thinking a Reuben sandwich...but any suggestions would be really helpful. Thank you!

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  1. In the Philadelphia area it's known as a hoagie, elsewhere it's a sub or hero. Also, hot pastrami on rye with coleslaw and Russian dressing. A bagel with lox?

    1. Oooh, the Reuben's an excellent representation of delicatessen food. Rye bread is the ticket, and homemade Russian dressing. There's another version called the Rachel that calls for coleslaw instead of the 'kraut - I prefer a regular one though, because It's really the 'kraut I'm after when I go for a Reuben. Other things you could make would be stuffed cabbage rolls (filled w/ ground beef or pork, onions, rice...sort of a meatloaf-type mixture, then braised after the rolls are stuffed, in a sweet/sour tomato-based sauce. Cheese Blintzes are another option, whether you make them sweet or savory, or Piroshki. Mishmash soup, which is chicken soup w/ veg, noodles, kreplach AND matzo blls, which is a little trip to heaven in a bowl, and Knishes served up w/ hot mustard are great, if you're into baking today. Think about Latkes (potato pancakes.) Not all delis serve them all the time, but you're pretty bound to find them close to the holidays. Toasted "everything" bagels with a good schmear of best-quality cream cheese, thinly-sliced lox, capers, onion and tomato. And chopped liver - so easy and so delicious spread on rye bread or another bagel. If you need recipes for any of the above, I'll be glad to provide them.
      And don't forget about NY cheesecake. And noodle or potato kugel - so heartwarming and delicious
      I'm getting hungry! good luck w/ your project.

      6 Replies
      1. re: mamachef

        Oooo, or should I say Oy, chopped chicken liva! Please do share your recipe! I saw schmatlz in the store the other day and thought of CCL....tis the season!

        1. re: Byrdy

          Hey Byrdy,
          Here you go! Can be made a day or two ahead - it's best when the flavors have a chance to meld and mellow, and will last several days after you serve it, if you have leftovers. Just put what's left into a container and "glaze" it w/ schmaltz.. Read recipe before making; you'll need to have 3 hard-boiled eggs to hand, and you'll need a total of 5-7 T. schmaltz. I've actually used butter in a pinch, and while delicious, it wasn't quite right.
          Marci's Adaptation of Grandma's Gehatke (chopped) Leber (liver. ;)
          1 lb. chicken livers, cleaned. (cut off odd-colored pieces, and any veins or gooslop that you just don't like...)
          2 T. schmaltz, maybe a little more, maybe a little less (you'll need more than this, though..)
          3 medium onions, white or yellow, large dice. Red onions just aren't right for this.
          3 hard-boiled eggs
          2 T. Schmaltz
          salt and pepper, to taste
          Dice the onions, and saute them in the schmaltz until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
          Set aside while you saute the livers in the pan you cooked the onions in, cooking them to medium: nice and brown outside but pink (not red or brown) inside, turning once - maybe 5 minutes over medium high heat. Check by slicing into thickest part of liver.
          Set aside while you set up your grinder or processor. (can be hand-minced, but what a drag and what a mess...)
          Process or grind livers, onions, eggs, and add melted schmaltz and salt and pepper to taste. (A slow pulse w/ the knife blade is right if using a processor. If using a grinder or chopper, the large hole for the grinder, if a chopper, the large blade.)
          Mixture should not be entirely smooth; the little grainy bits of liver, and bits of egg and onion, are part of the CL experience and should not be missed. Serve w/ matzo, rye bread, or Russian black bread. Mixture should be served at room temperature. I love to make the perfect couch surfin' meal out of this and a mug of soup. :) I hope you enjoy! Eat, dollink; EAT!!

          1. re: mamachef

            hit 'LIKE' button for this post, mamachef!

            1. re: gingershelley

              Haha, why am I not suprised you're a CCL fan, gingershelley?

            2. re: mamachef

              Thank you, mamachef. Ill let you know how I do!

              1. re: Byrdy

                It'll be great and you'll do just fine, Byrdy. Just watch the livers carefully and don't let them get past a nice pink shade, because if they brown too much, your CCL will be crumbly and grainy, and that's just what you don't want. Good Luck!!

        2. I worked for a German style deli, which would have other foods than kosher. I'd say both of these are typical delis here, with lots of Italian influences too. Because I was thinking of an Italian hero, my favorite, with sides of potato salad and macaroni salad. And don't forget the pickle!

          1. Jewish deli? Kasha varnishkes
            Italian deli? Italian combo

            9 Replies
            1. re: AdamD

              Mmmmmm......Kasha varnishkes! One of my alltime favorites, AdamD.
              It seems like the OP wants Jewish deli recipes, evidenced by her gravitating towards the Reuben Sandwich.

              1. re: mamachef

                I was thinking the OP might be interested in the concept of delicatessen in general, or looking to think outside the box? Because if this is a school project, extra points for knowing that "delicatessen" is a German word, so something German could be more authentic. Not sure what he's looking for myself, though, not enough feedback from him so far.

                1. re: coll

                  All your responses are great!! Thank you :)

                  1. re: fifi

                    I'm sort of into deli, at least in the NY area, so let me know if you have any questions, and I'm sure others will help out too. To tell the truth, where I am now, it has evolved quite a bit into South American, very home made style, so it's a really interesting subject if you want to delve deeply.

                2. re: mamachef

                  Olive oil or schmaltz? :) I confess to olive oil in my recent years, but I crave schmaltz when I am sick with a cold.

                  1. re: AdamD

                    Schmaltz, AdamD. I keep it to hand. I don't often use it, but some things just.aren't.right without it, right?

                    1. re: mamachef

                      I long for schmaltz, but its usually olive oil for us.........:(

                  2. re: mamachef

                    Kasha varnishkes make before Sandy. No power for 8 days, so now it will be tossed.

                    1. re: classylady

                      THAT right there is a serious bummer, but a good thing it's easy to make.

                3. Where can I find a good Reuben recipe do you think?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fifi

                    So simple, just use the best ingredients...good bread, good corned beef, good sauerkraut, good mustard.


                  2. You might want to check out the Mile End Cookbook. The authors are from Montreal and they have opened a Deli in Brooklyn. It is quite successful and they make all their deli found from scratch including the condiments. They have just released a cookbook link below:


                      1. A good Reuben recipe? Well, right here:

                        Serves 1

                        2 slices good rye bread, preferably seeded, sour if you like

                        2 T. Russian dressing (thousand island can be used, but hit it with just a tot of cayenne

                        2 nice-sized slices swiss cheese

                        3 oz. kraut, rinsed, drained and dried

                        6 oz. pastrami (I beg of you to find this at a deli., hand-sliced thinly. The cryovacced stuff at the store is worthless)

                        1 T. softened butter

                        Spread dressing on bread slices

                        Lay cheese atop that, 1 slice per piece of bread

                        Lay kraut atop that, one side only

                        Pastrami goes atop that

                        So what you've essentially done is enclose the kraut and meat in cheese and bread. This keeps it from being soggy. You can use more meat and kraut if you want: some delis use more than a pound for their ridonkeylous sandwiches...

                        Heat grill or frying pan over medium-high heat. Butter outside slices of bread. You're going to grill this - butter the bread, never the pan.

                        When grill is nice and hot, grill sandwich on both sides, until bread is crunchy and golden-toasty and meat and kraut are hot and cheese is melted.

                        Cut on the diagonal and stuff your face. This sounds so good right now. Best if served w/ half-sour or garlic Kosher dill pickles, and either slaw or potato salad, although I'd never turn down an order of properly-done French fries. Oh, and a pint of something hoppy and delicious, though if it's for school, it would be a good idea not to mention that. This would be easy if it's a demo. class, too.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: mamachef

                          Mamachef, you are the best! but Ruebens are made with corned beef. We also made the same sandwich with pastrami but called it a Black Forest. On the other hand you are right about the 1,000 Island; I always sub mustard but there is another name for that too, which I can't recall.

                          Hope we haven't confused fifi too much so far.....

                          1. re: coll

                            Agreed. Reubens are made with corned beef.

                            1. re: coll

                              Color me red. What a schmoo be I!! Thank you for the gentle correction, and of course you're both right. The classic Reuben is corned beef.
                              History: when I worked at the deli, of course meals were provided to us as a matter of routine, and I always, without fail, chose to make a Reuben.......but loving pastrami and finding corned beef a bit......meh, I subbed pastrami instead; hence my mistake. Funny that I'd focus on it that way, considering I probably made 20 a day, WITH the proper corned beef and Thousand Island dressing, but noooooo...it was all about ME! :)
                              The thing that I actually find most humorous is that I ALWAYS subbed mustard into mine too; I really like all that vinegar, and between mustard and 'kraut, boy did they have a kick. I liked using a coarse-ground horseradishy mustard on mine, and the boss and his mom found my taste in food rather strange, being big "classicists" themselves. :)
                              (still embarrassed, though.)

                              1. re: coll

                                nooo! this is all perfect - thank you!

                              2. re: mamachef

                                I agree about the corned beef being authentic, but I prefer pastrami. But then my Reubens are not authentic.

                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  I use pastrami and corned beef interchangably when I make them at home, but I don't have to call them anything, I just eat them!

                                  1. re: coll

                                    LOL> I like your nice flexible style, coll!! doesn't reading this thread make you want one NOW?

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      How did you guess? I usually wait for St Paddys Day, but not this year I'm thinking.

                                2. re: mamachef

                                  super helpful - and will be using the corned beef as discussed below. thank you mamachef!

                                3. Don't forget the typical beverage accompanying a good deli meal: An egg cream or Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray. :-)

                                  6 Replies
                                    1. re: Sam D.

                                      Heck yeah. I'll just have that egg cream, if you please. :)

                                      1. re: mamachef

                                        mamachef - i just fell in love with a reuben sandwich!!!!!!!!! it was amazing!!! thank you :-)

                                        1. re: fifi

                                          Put a ring on that thing!
                                          Most people would disagree that it fits into the category of "comfort food," but....
                                          I can eat one of these and go into a very happy infantile place. Not sure Nanny would approve, but.....

                                          1. re: mamachef

                                            Just had a sandwich last week but without the swiss cheese. 1000 island dressing sounds great.

                                            1. re: classylady

                                              Oh, you must try it. No Swiss? Did you sub, or no cheese at all, and WHYYYY?

                                    2. Now that's funny. I was scrolling down and saw your thread title. The first thing that came to mind was 'Rueben sandwich'. Go figure. LOL

                                      1. If any deli experts are still out there --
                                        I once heard a favorite TV personality say they ordered late-night (early morning) "salami and eggs" from a nearby deli. (This would have been in New York City, the show's studio is there.)
                                        Would anybody know *what sort of salami would be used for this, and how the dish is made?*
                                        Fried/scrambled? Potatoes/onions? Ketchup?

                                        15 Replies
                                        1. re: blue room

                                          I would guess: regular plain salami (not Sicilian or such), fried on the grill to crisp up. With eggs fried, maybe some cheese too....no potatoes, no onions, and especially NO ketchup. aiyeee! Probably a sandwich on a hard roll? Aiyee ketchup.........no comprende.

                                          1. re: coll

                                            So, much like ham and eggs, sunny side up, or a sandwich? Not a particular NYC deli dish?

                                            1. re: blue room

                                              It's a scramble - eggs, salami, possibly onions. Some prefer more an egg pancake...

                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                Like egg foo yung, Italian style?

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Close! (not Italian, though: Jewish deli-style!) Reference also: the LEO. (Lox, eggs and onions, done the same way....)

                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                    Ah, so this is a kosher type dish? I never heard of it before, despite working at a deli for several years. That could explain it.

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      Yes indeedy; but not Kosher proper....only place you'll likely find it as a listed menu item is a Jewish/Kosher-style deli. Now I want some.....with a bagel. A REAL bagel. :)

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        When I first heard it mentioned, the speaker (not Jewish) made it sound like the only reasonable thing to order in the middle of the night in NYC. My imagination and the late hour had much to do with my interest, I'm sure. But Hebrew National salami sounds like a good place to start, per mamchef.

                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                          oh so delicious.....just brown the salami slightly.....

                                            2. re: blue room

                                              salami and eggs was the very first dish I ever cooked as a child, I think at 9 or 10 years old. .
                                              take some salami- not too thinly sliced. I don't remember what kind of salami my mother bought- kosher, not too spicy, about medium sized (not the wide kind but not the really thin "hard' salami either).
                                              place in a hot pan, no oil necessary
                                              fry on both slides til light brown
                                              pour in some eggs beaten with a pinch of salt and pepper
                                              flip when the eggs are set and cook on the other side
                                              serve immediately.
                                              Wow I haven't made them- or even thought about them- in years! Now I have a craving...

                                              1. re: serenarobin

                                                I don't mean to obsess with details, but if the salami is kosher it would not be pork, right? I think of salami as pork -- the wrong kind would say "hard" on the wrapper -- or Sicilian, as the previous poster coll noted? Is the salami chopped, or left in slices? And then it's cooked like a pancake. No other ingredients are usual, potatoes or onions?

                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  We kept kosher so that's why we used kosher salami, but I think you could use any kind that you find tasty. Kosher salami does not contain pork.
                                                  Cut in slices or half-moons.
                                                  It looked like this, something you can find in a supermarket deli case, though I can't vouch for this exact brand since I haven't bought salami in years. But I may need to get some in the morning!

                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                      Actually bologna is really good cooked like this with eggs too. On a roll or on a plate. When you cook thinly sliced cold cuts, they curl up and brown nicely, it's a whole different taste than cold.

                                                      I would use any of the Italian salamis; Genoa most commonly but Sicilian is the same just with peppercorns in it. Hard salami wouldn't cook up well though, too dry and I don't really like the smoky flavor anyway.

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        Almost undoubtedly, Hebrew National, all-beef; cubed and sauteed first.