World’s Best Sandwiches — the Reuben

Do you know what I love most about St. Patrick’s Day? The drunken debauchery, you answer by reflex? No, I don’t need an excuse for that. (Although my sister, Andrea, and I did once consume a long queue of red wines at an Irish pub in Venice, Italy, during a particularly good exchange rate.) It’s the leftover corned beef I have after my once-a-year foray into Irish cuisine.

Reuben ingredients

Whichever of the World’s Best Sandwiches I happen to be eating at the time tends to be my favorite. (And typically I’ll make a strong case for my own sandwich, the Topanga tri-tip.) But you’d be hard pressed to find a better sandwich than the Reuben.

Taste, of course, is subjective — and subject to change. I wouldn’t have liked this sandwich as a kid. Rye bread, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese were not high among my favorite things by themselves, much less combined. But with age comes wisdom. And a deep, lustful appreciation of the synergy of long-cooked beef, melting Swiss blending into vibrantly orange Thousand Island, balanced by the fermented zing of sauerkraut and the toothsome tang of rye.

Even if you didn’t make corned beef for St. Patty’s Day, it’s worth buying one just to cook and have in the fridge for a few days’ worth of Reubens. And you’re lucky — they’re on sale. (There was a tiny octogenarian Jewish man handling the corned beefs when I was at the market. “That’s a good deal!” he said, looking up at me. “You just boil the shit out of it!” I can offer no better advice than that.)

*   *   *

The Reuben
serves 2

2/3 lb cooked corned beef, sliced thin
Four large slices corn rye bread
4-6 slices of Emanthaler or other Swiss-style cheese
1/2 cup sauerkraut
bottle of Thousand Island dressing

(Note: You can buy corned beef sliced at the grocery store. But that’s kind of like making a pizza with a frozen Boboli dough. Buy your own corned beef, and cook it according to the instructions on the package [or, like the old guy said, boil the shit out of it]. It’ll cost you less, and think how many more Reubens you’ll get!)

Lay your bread slices flat, and squirt a little Thousand Island dressing on each piece (a couple tablespoons, I’d say). Lay out half your corned beef on the bottom two pieces. Top each with two or three slices of Swiss cheese, and spread the sauerkraut on top.

In a large pan over medium heat, heat a few tablespoons of canola or other light vegetable oil. (Not olive oil.) Place the Reubens in the pan and cook for a few minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and with a spatula, turn the sandwiches over. Add a little more oil to the pan and cook for another five minutes. Remove pan from heat, and press sandwiches down gently with the spatula to flatten slightly. Remove from pan, slice in half and serve with a dill pickle, if you like.

Beverage suggestion: You can do no better with this than a Sierra Nevada pale ale

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Gaskin
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 03:05:44

    I’m going to answer by reflex 😉

    Haha…little Irish baby is adorable


  2. Andrea Thompson
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 16:25:28

    That video is SO FUNNY!


  3. paul
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 19:11:08

    A lot of good can be said about Reuben’s lovely sister Rachel.


    • scolgin
      Mar 28, 2011 @ 17:08:23

      Had to look that one up, Paul. So it’s basically a Reuben with turkey instead of corned beef? An option for different holiday leftovers! (And a tad healthier, I suppose.) Do you make it with sauerkraut or cole slaw?


      • paul
        Mar 29, 2011 @ 17:23:49

        I do the cole slaw and use corned beef. Been known to use Pastrami but I’m an outlaw you know. Never did the turkey (didn’t even know that was on the Rachel dance card) and now that is a new one on me.

  4. g
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 03:22:33

    I love a Reuben!

    Dang! Guinness IS good for you, after all!


  5. peinados de novia
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 03:15:20

    Me ha interesado bodas y que den consejo útil y original.
    He leído varios post tuyos y son realmente interesantes.En el futuro prestaré gran atención a tus entradas.

    Muchas gracias y abrazos!!


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