When I first read this recipe, I thought it was downright goofy. Then I read further (it originated in a German-heritage community near Milwaukee in the upper Midwestern state of Wisconsin) and I decided that it would taste pretty good. These egg rolls have all the ingredients of the famous Reuben sandwich (corned beef, sauerkraut and cheese) melted together inside a crispy, crunchy egg roll wrapper. It occurs to me that you could even crush a few caraway seeds and sprinkle them over the sauerkraut to add the essential flavor of the rye bread! In any event, here is an unusual hors d’oeuvre.

8 egg roll skins – each about 6 1/2 by 6 1/2 inches
1/2 pound, thinly sliced cooked corned beef – homemade or
1/2 cup, sauerkraut – rinsed and patted dry
1/4 pound, thinly sliced Swiss cheese
vegetable oil for deep-frying
optional (but a good idea):
Russian dressing for dipping
Caraway seeds (see Introductory note)

Lay an egg roll skin out on the counter. Take one-eighth of the corned beef and mold it into a little square at the center of the egg roll (the square should be about 2 by 2 inches). Top the corned beef with a tablespoon of sauerkraut. Top that with one eighth of the Swiss cheese, molded to fit evenly over the 2 by 2-inch package.

Lightly dab all of the edges of the egg roll skin with water. Fold the left-hand side of the egg roll skin toward the middle, partially covering the egg roll package. Do the same with the right-hand side of the egg roll skin. Now grasp the bottom edge of the egg roll skin (the edge closest to you) and fold it upward toward the center of the skin; the package should now be covered. To finish, grasp the upper edge of the egg roll skin (the edge farthest from you) and fold it downward toward the center, over the other egg roll skin edges already at the center. You should now have a neat, stuffed square. With your fingers, press all the edges of the square, pinching layers of egg roll skin together. If desired, crimp the edges with a fork to make a decorative pattern. Repeat until 8 Reuben rolls are made. Set the rolls aside while you heat the oil for deep-frying.

Pour oil into a large pot or saucepan to a depth of about 2 to 3 inches. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. When it’s hot, drop Reuben rolls into the oil – working in batches if your frying vessel won’t accommodate all eight at once. It is important not to crowd the pan; too many egg rolls can lower the temperature of the oil and the result will not be crispy.

Cook each roll until it is golden brown on the outside (about 3 to 4 minutes), turning a few times during cooking to brown evenly. Remove the rolls from the oil and place them on paper towels or a brown paper bag to drain. Serve immediately, with Russian dressing on the side for dipping.

Recipe adapted from: The Rosengarten Report of January, 2007, Edited by David Rosengarten