There are two stories to this sandwiches origin. One has that it was made for a group of old poker playing cronies back in 1920 at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha Nebraska. The other story is that Arnold Reuben a famous NY deli owner invented the Reuben put it on the menu in 1914 as a “special.” Either way, it’s one of my favorite sandwiches. I love the tart and hearty rye bread, the salty corned beef, the sour sauerkraut mixed with the sweet Thousand Island dressing and well what’s a sandwich without melted cheese? It’s perfect no matter where it came from. After making these the other day for “Game Day” I have all sorts of combos in my head; turkey pastrami and coleslaw instead of sauerkraut was the first to come to mind.
The key to getting the bread toasted not burned and the cheese to get lava-y is to cover it then “grill” it low and slow. The bread toasts, the cheese lavas, and the beef and sauerkraut heat up. During the last few minutes, I put a grill press on top just to compact the sandwich slightly.
Makes 2 sandwiches
4 slices rye bread
10 slices corned beef
6 slices Jarlsberg cheese
¼ cup sauerkraut, drained
3 Tablespoons Thousand Island dressing, see below
2 Tablespoons spicy brown or Dijon mustard
Butter for grilling or frying
Heat a large skillet over medium low heat. For each sandwich – spread one side of the bread with mustard. Top with 5 slices of corned beef. Spread ½ the sauerkraut mixture on top of beef. Add 3 slices of the cheese and top with remaining slice of bread, press down slightly.
Butter one side of the sandwich and place buttered side down in skillet. Butter remaining side of bread. Cover sandwiches with a lid or aluminum foil and “grill” for 7 minutes on each side or until dark golden color. Use a “press” for the last few minutes on one side just to compact the sandwich slightly. Let rest 3 minutes before cutting.
Thousand Island Dressing
Makes about 2 cups
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream (only Daisy brand here)
¼ cup ketchup
1 ½ teaspoons fresh grated horseradish
½ cup sweet pickle relish, drained
1 ½ teaspoons capers, drained and minced
10 small pimiento stuffed Manzanilla olives, minced
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Whisk the above ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
It’s All Delicious Notes: This recipe can easily be doubled.