I can’t quite remember when my love for sandwiches began. I have memories of eating sandwiches on the playground at Mrs. Grant’s pre-school growing up in Colorado. My mom usually made me ham and cheese with mustard. Clearly at a young age I was impressed with the concept of the sandwich as I don’t remember much else from my pre-school days.
Perhaps it was the summer I spent in college working at The Hofbrau. The Hofbrau sat right on the ocean front in Morro Bay, CA. Their speciality was hand carved roast beef sandwiches. The beef was roasted in-house, carved right in front of you as you placed your order, and then quickly steamed with your choice of bread and cheese.
Sometimes when I daydream, my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders to that juicy roast, the melty cheese, and soft bread. As much as I loved The Hofbrau’s roast beef, they also had amazing pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, and it was there that I had my first Reuben.
There are many variations, but we stick with a classic version with marbled rye bread, thinly sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. This combination of ingredients, tangy sauerkraut, creamy dressing, cheese, corned beef spices, and rye bread create the perfect balance of interesting flavor and texture.
For me, that’s what the perfect sandwich is all about. You can load them with veggies, load them with meats, or a combination of the two to find your own perfect balance.
Classic Reuben Sandwiches
For Russian Dressing:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoon chili sauce*
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot (from 1 medium shallot)
- 1/2 tablespoon minced dill pickle
- 1/2 teaspoon minced parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 loaf marbled rye bread
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound thinly sliced corned beef
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 16 oz package sauerkraut
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened and divided
*Chili sauce here is referring to the red cocktail sauce, not the spicy Asian sauce. It’s available in the condiment aisle of most major grocery stores (look for Heinz brand).
In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, chili sauce, shallot, pickle, parsley, mustard, and Worchestershire sauce until smooth.
Spread dressing on inside of 8 pieces of bread. Top 4 of the slices with corned beef, followed by a spoonful of sauerkraut and two slices of Swiss cheese. Top with remaining bread slices, dressing side down. Spread softened butter on the top and bottom of sandwiches.
Preheat skillet over medium heat. Toast both sides of sandwich, flipping once, until cheese is melted and filling is heated through. Serve immediately.