Monday, February 28, 2011

The Rueben Sandwich

Here is a recipe for the 6th most popular sandwich in the USA, the Rueben.
The Rueben has many variations, but is typically served on Rye bread, with sauerkraut, corned beef, thousand island dressing and Swiss Cheese.  It is served hot.

There is some uncertainty as to the origins.  Some believe it was created by Arnold Reuben, the owner of Reuben's Delicatessen in NY in 1914 as a Reuben's Special.  Others believe that the sandwich was created by Rueben Kulakofsky a grocer who made the sandwich for his poker buddies at the Blackstone Hotel.  The hotel owner put the sandwich on his menu and a former employee entered the recipe in a national contest and won.  This took place between 1920 and 1935.
Either way, the sandwich exists today with lots of variations - all are delicious.  I will share with you my recipe at the end of this post.

Rueben Sandwich - corned beef, Swiss Cheese, Thousand Island Dressing, Sauerkraut on Rye bread
Rachel Sandwich - pastrami or turkey and cole slaw, thousand Island Dressing, Swiss cheese, Rye bread
Georgia Rueben - Turkey, Swiss Cheese, coleslaw, BBQ sauce, Rye bread
Foothills Red Barn Rueben -corned beef, cheddar cheese, thousand island dressing, cole slaw, Rye bread
Grouper Rueben - grouper, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, thousand island dressing, Rye bread, served in Florida.

I have been making the Rueben Sandwich for a very long time.  Before I met Jon, I made a thin sandwich on Rye bread, with Swiss Cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and thin sliced corned beef.  I toasted the bread and put the filling inside the warm bread.  I enjoyed all the flavors.  Then, I learned how to make a Rueben like Jon's mother made and I knew I could never go back to the plain old Rueben!
She used cheddar cheese for one!  She used lots of thousand island dressing, so much that it was a very messy, but delicious sandwich to eat.  And she used shaved corned beef.  Using shaved corned beef made for a more tender sandwich and was an excellent addition.

Now, I have a no secret to getting the corned beef shaved successfully.  As a matter of fact, I have been known to beg and plead with the clerk at the deli counter in the hopes of getting it shaved. I learned that I have to ask, very nicely, for corned beef shaved "so thin that it crumbles". Once they realize that I want it to crumble, they are more likely to shave it for me.  Sometimes this works - other times, I get slices of corned beef.

The last alteration I made to my original recipe was using pumpernickel bread.  I use Rye bread and like it, but also I like using marble bread (Rye and Pumpernickel). But because I have like any of these breads, I choose whatever looks good that day.
Since I made sandwiches for four, I started out gathering all the ingredients.
8 slices bread
1 cup Thousand Island Dressing
2 cups sauerkraut, heated and drained thoroughly
9 slices Cheddar Cheese
paper towels,
microwave oven

 Toast each slice of bread until toasted.  I like it medium toasted.
Place 2 slices (per sandwich) on clean paper towels.  Spread with 1/4 cup Thousand Island Dressing on both slices of bread.
 Top on slice of bread with corned beef.  You can use any variation (sliced turkey or pastrami)

Top with 1/2 cup sauerkraut.
Add 2 slices Cheddar Cheese. 
(I add 3 slices of cheese for Jon's sandwich) 
Wrap the sandwich in paper towels and place on a microwave tray or microwave safe plate.  When all the sandwiches are made and wrapped, microwave for 2 minutes.  If the cheese is not melted, melt for 20 second intervals until melted.  Enjoy!


SOFIA said...

I have two comments... I really, really miss cheddar cheese. I mean I know I am fortunate to have fantastic cheeses here but cheddar is my toma if you know what I mean.
The second comment is I testify from experience that you make a delicious sandwhich. You 'put the cheese in just the right place' somehow

piero canuto said...

very interesting and great to know.