Create The Perfect Reuben Sandwich
The classic Reuben sandwich, a combination of corned beef, swiss cheese and sauerkraut on grilled rye bread, is still the most popular item on a delicatessen's menu. Here's how to create the perfect Reuben at home.
Go to any delicatessen anywhere in the United States, and you're bound to encounter the one sandwich that almost defines the word 'deli'. A mouthwatering combination of corned beef, swiss cheese and sauerkraut grilled on rye bread, the Reuben remains a contender for the most popular sandwich on anyone's menu. Whether you add a side of mustard, the traditional 1000 island dressing or the even more traditional Russian dressing, a good Reuben combines elements of sweet and sour that satisfies like no other. Here's how to make the perfect Reuben at home.
Ingredients you will need:
At least 1/4 pound of corned beef, preferably hand-sliced thick, but machine-sliced at the deli counter will do. Check with a specialized deli supplier for the absolute best, if you can.
Two slices of quality swiss cheese, cut fairly thick. You want the slices to melt, but not disappear from view.
A fair handful of authentic sauerkraut. Find the freshest bagged sauerkraut, much better than anything in a can. Squeeze out most of the juice over a sink- you want enough moisture for flavor, but not enough to make the sandwich soggy.
Two slices of the heartiest soft Jewish Rye bread you can find. The thicker the slices, the better. Some have used pumpernickel as a substitute, but we won't dignify that with a comment. Again, try a good deli supply store for the best rye bread.
A generous dollop of either 1000 island or Russian dressing. 1000 island is the current default choice of most delis, while Russian is the dressing of choice for the absolute purists.
Now that you have all your ingredients in one place, begin assembling your sandwich. If you have a grilling system on your stove or a sandwich toaster, heat them up to around medium to medium-high. Slather both pieces of rye bread with dressing. Place a slice of Swiss cheese on top of each bread slice.
Squeeze out a handful of sauerkraut slightly, until it retains its shape in your hand. Stack the kraut evenly over one of the cheese slices. Take your sliced corned beef and place it evenly on the other cheese slice. Keeping both stacks open-faced, place them on the grilling part of your oven, or into the sandwich toaster. If you don't have either one, you may need to add a step before you start prepping the sandwich. To get the proper grilling effect in a frying pan, butter the rye bread first, then proceed as usual.
Watch the sandwich closely while grilling. You don't want the bread to burn, just toast. Check the swiss cheese for signs of melting. If you are grilling the Reuben in a skillet, lift up a corner of the bread to make sure you're browning it well.
Once the cheese has melted and the bread is well-toasted, pull the slices out of the grill or skillet and place them on a cutting board. Quickly flip the sauerkraut side on top of the meat side. Take a good kitchen knife and slice the sandwich at an angle. Place both halves on a plate, along with a kosher dill pickle slice and some potato chips. You now have the traditional Reuben right at home.