In the Slavic countries of Eastern Europe, bread of all types has a noble place in the cuisine, but none so much as rye bread. Rye bread is denser than wheat bread and has many colors and variations depending on its origin. At its most basic, rye bread is dark-colored and has a closed texture, like German pumpernickel. Other ryes have different shapes and flavors that vary from pungent and sour to milder and softer in texture, like in light-rye bread (which contains wheat).
Because they don't have preservatives, homemade rye breads go stale easily. So if you find yourself with rye bread leftovers, these recipes below are the perfect solution. Although, if you simply love the flavor of rye, you can start with fresh bread instead.
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The simplest way to use leftover rye bread is to turn it into croutons that are the perfect accompaniments for salads and soups. Garlic and olive oil punch up the already flavorful rye bread. Mix and bake for 20 minutes for little cubes of crispy perfection.
Use them to top a delicious cream of mushroom soup, dill pickle soup, or silky potato and leek soup. For salads, try them atop Caesar salad or ham salad with balsamic. Think outside the box and put croutons on huevos rancheros or tofu scramble.
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In this recipe, you're repurposing both the bread and the corned beef, but feel free to swap beef for chicken or turkey, roasted or straight from the deli counter. There are no bad variations on this one, and it's a filling, easy dish to make for a family brunch. You need the fixings for a Reuben sandwich and 45 minutes in the oven.
Serve it with any steamed vegetable sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with olive oil. Try a more elaborate vegetable side with these winter vegetables or the perfect baked potato, using the same oven time as the casserole.
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Reuben or Rachel Sandwich
Filled either with corned beef or turkey, respectively, these two rye sandwiches are staples of the American deli tradition. Make a sandwich bar for a great family treat: serve all the fixings plus the toasted bread and let each person choose what to fill it with.
Rye Sandwich Ideas
Use your rye bread for less traditional sandwich preparations:
- Cubano Rye: Use baked ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, butter, and pickles. Spread a generous amount of mustard on two slices of rye and fill each sandwich with 3 thick slices of ham, 3 slices of roast pork, 2 slices of Swiss cheese, and a layer of pickles thinly sliced. Use butter on the top of the bread slices and press your Cubano until the cheese melts and the bread is crispy.
- Piadina Rye: This Italian panino usually uses prosciutto, some creamy cheese like La Tur, and arugula.
- Rye Croque Madame: This hearty french sandwich consists of ham, gruyere, bechamel, eggs, and bread. Fill your sandwiches with ham and cheese, pan grill with butter until bread is crunchy and cheese is melted, then cover with bechamel, fried eggs, and extra cheese.