Rev 0.80, last revised: 23-Sep-07
The Reuben sandwich is essentially a high-flying grilled cheese sandwich dressed with sauerkraut, corned beef and Thousand-Island dressing, served on a couple of slices of fresh Sourdough Rye Bread. The story goes that, in 1941, New York delicatessen owner Arthur Reuben created the Reuben to honor actress Annette Seelos. I like it because it makes an excellent sandwich for a cold snowy day while watching football. It may take a little extra time to make, but it's well worth the trouble.
The easiest way to cook a Reuben at home would be on an electric grill. It can be done on your stove top as well if you do not have a grill. I use the stove top so my directions are laid out to do that.
I make these in two sections, in order to keep the "wet stuff" from making the bread soggy. If you use a pan, heat it over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, butter THE OUTSIDE of the bread slices. Put the BUTTER SIDE DOWN into the pan and heat. Working quickly, layer about 1/2 the corned beef or pastrami onto each slice of bread, apply mustard if desired, followed by about 1/2 the cheese, and 1/2 of the sauerkraut for each sandwich half. Have your materials ready for quick, easy access, so that you can work quickly in order to get each half built.
Brown the bread and let the cheese melt a bit. If it browns more quickly than the cheese melts to your liking, reduce the heat a bit. If not, increase it. When just done, top one half with the Thousand Island dressing, and stack the two halves--facing each other--together to make the sandwich. By putting the dressing on last, you keep the dressing cool and your bread from becoming soggy. Remove the sandwich from the pan. You've just successfully built The PERFECT Reuben Sandwich.
Serve with crisp dill pickles or spicy pickled beans, and a cellar cool "winter brew" beer.