Miss Ruben's pastrami

Miss Ruben's pastrami

Elisa Watson

If cooking is the way to a man’s heart, then our pastrami is a direct injection. I’ve had marriage proposals over Miss Ruben’s pastrami. It’s a three-day process for us, but this recipe reduces the steps and cooking time so you can easily make it at home (although the sauerkraut still needs to be made five days in advance). Serve the pastrami warm, piled on rye bread with pickles, sauerkraut and mustard, or with potato salad, slaw and all the trimmings. You won’t be disappointed.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon white peppercorns
1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1.5kg pickled beef brisket
2 tablespoons american mustard
pickled cucumbers, to serve
rye bread, to serve
mustard of your choice, to serve

Red sauerkraut

Quantity Ingredient
1 medium red cabbage, finely shredded, about 1kg
1 teaspoon rock salt
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1/4 bay leaf
1 juniper berry


  1. To make the sauerkraut, put the cabbage in a large bowl. Using a spice grinder, blend together the rock salt, caraway seeds, bay leaf and juniper berry. Sprinkle the salt mix over the cabbage and massage well until the cabbage has softened. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to stand overnight at room temperature.
  2. The next day, massage the cabbage again and transfer it with its liquid to a sealed airtight container.
  3. Leave the sauerkraut to ferment for 5 days at room temperature, opening the container to air for a few minutes every couple of days. Transfer it to the refrigerator to stop the fermenting process.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  5. Grind the peppercorns, coriander and cumin seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Mix with the sugar and salt.
  6. Using a pastry brush, spread the brisket with mustard, then sprinkle with the spice mix, ensuring the meat is evenly coated.
  7. Place the brisket on a wire rack set over a roasting tray. Roast in the oven for 4½ hours. Wait for it to cool slightly before slicing thickly.
  8. Serve the pastrami sliced and still warm, thickly layered on top of the sauerkraut and pickled cucumber, between slices of rye bread with mustard.


  • You should be able to order pickled beef brisket through your butcher.
Jewish cooking
Chicken soup
Yom kippur
Dinner party
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