My Take on the Classic Reuben Sandwich


Too few people understand a really good sandwich -- James Beard

I agree. Unless it’s a Reuben, ‘cause everybody gets the Reuben.
Now if you're serious about rocking the Paleo lifestyle, then look away. This sandwich isn't for you. I have tried it on lavash, and will probably make one up for lunch tomorrow, but even with a sprinkling of caraway, it's a poor substitute.  There are some recipes you just shouldn't Paleo-ized. This is one of them. 

So here’s my breakdown of an American Classic...

Ingredients
8 slices of rye bread
1 pound corned beef, sliced
1 pound pastrami, sliced
1 Tablespoon water
Russian dressing, recipe below
Sauerkraut, my favorite is Hengstenberg, not too salty, not too sour
Swiss cheese
Butter

Russian dressing:
1/3-cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Ketchup
1 Tablespoon dill relish
Black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

If you buy your meats at the corner deli like I do, you will come home with a thick stack of perfectly sliced meat. Mess that up immediately. Taking a slice at a time, make a loose pile on a sheet of aluminum foil. Then sprinkle with water, crimp the ends closed, and place in the oven to steam, about 10 minutes.
While its cooking, arrange your bread on the rack alongside, baking until it has dried to the consistency of toast, maybe 5 minutes. (Crispy bread is essential to this recipe. Do not skip this step.) Remove the slices and butter one side of each, placing 4, butter side down, on a large griddle pan.

After removing the corned beef and pastrami, carefully unwrap it. And layer over the browning slices as follows…
Swiss cheese
Meat
Sauerkraut
Dressing
Meat
Swiss Cheese

Cook until the cheese has begun to melt and the bread is just beginning to brown, then flip and repeat. Now, you've already seen from the above picture that my timing isn't the best--I have a large pan where I can fit four sandwiches at once, but its heat is anything but consistent--however, those darker bits were just as delicious. And delicious is what most cooks shoot for.  Now, if you're baking a birthday cake, "pretty" is a good goal--that and good icing--but for every other dish, you've got to shoot for tasty and let the chips, and the singes, fall where they may.

But back to Reubens, when you're ready to slice, grab some toothpicks. This baby is staked so high with deliciousness, it's going to slide. Guaranteed.
I like mine with pickles, olives, chips and dark beer. 
And look, no more singed bits!





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