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S.D. EATERY SERVES HEARTY REUBEN SOUP

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Question: Several months ago a group of us had dinner at the Firehouse Brew Pub in Rapid City, S.D. They had a Reuben Soup that was outstanding. We would appreciate getting that recipe.

- Larry Stahl, St. Paul, Minn.Answer: Only 25 miles southwest of Rapid City is the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, where the heads and faces of American Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are carved into the granite at the peak of the northeast side of the mountain. The presidential heads represent, respectively, the nation's founding, political philosophy, preservation and expansion and conservation. Carving the four heads, each of which is about 60 feet tall, took 61/2 years.

The Firehouse Brewing Co., housed in a converted red brick firehouse in Rapid City, serves an English pub menu of hearty soup, sandwiches and beer ranging from German Wheat to Irish Stout. Corned beef and sauerkraut give the thick creamy Reuben Soup its character and crunchy texture, and the corned beef is easily prepared in the oven or on the range top. Oven: Place meat in baking pan with 1/2 cup water. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes per pound or until fork tender. Range top: Place meat in large pot and cover with water. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes per pound or until fork tender. The soup can be "stretched" by thinning with vegetable stock.

America a la Carte welcomes recipe requests. Send the complete address of the restaurant along with your name, address and phone number to: America a la Carte, P.O. Box 5994, Austin, Texas 78763-5994; or fax: (512) 453-2145.

Recipe

REUBEN SOUP

1 pound cooked corned beef brisket, trimmed of fat

1/2 cup sauerkraut

1 stick butter

1/2 cup flour

3 cups cream

2 cups milk

1 cup diced white onion

1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon celery salt

3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dice or shred corned beef. Combine corned beef with sauerkraut and set aside. Melt butter in large soup pot over low heat. Add flour and heat 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly to cook flour and make a roux. Stir in cream and milk. Add onions. Increase heat to medium and continue cooking 7 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until soup thickens. Add cheese and stir to blend. Add white pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, celery salt, lemon pepper and salt. Add corned beef and sauerkraut. Stir until well-combined. Makes approximately 2 quarts, serving 4 to 6 people.