Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reuben Sandwich

Sometimes you wonder about people. Namely, right now, the leadership and membership of the Republican Party, and the kind of person who would publish a recipe for Reuben sandwiches without Russian dressing. I mean, what the hell? This is not a case of tastes changing in intervening years. Even a little country girl (or to be strictly accurate, a big country girl, at age 15 who stood 5 feet, 11 inches and weighed 180 pounds) like me knew that Reuben sandwiches contained Russian dressing. I discovered them in 1968 at the deli on 42nd Street across Fifth Avenue in front of the New York Public Library.
When I came to Washington later that year, I ate Reuben sandwiches at the New York Style deli on G Street down from the World Bank, and they had Russian dressing on them too. So put the Russian dressing on, please.
This recipe is the start from scratch kind, and makes ten to 12 sandwiches. One can buy sliced corned beef at the deli section and make one or two sandwiches. Not omitting the Russian dressing, of course.
Another thing that makes this recipe distinctly inferior. Reuben sandwiches should not be made on toast. They should be cooked in a frying pan or in a waffle iron so the cheese melts properly and the crust is buttery. So disregard all that info about toast.

Reuben Sandwich

3 pounds corned beef
1 one-pound-11-ounce can sauerkraut
20 to 24 slices rye bread with caraway seeds
1 pound sliced imported Swiss cheese

1. Place the corned beef in a deep kettle or casserole and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently about fifty minutes a pound, or until tender. Thirty minutes before cooking is scheduled to be finished, pile the sauerkraut on top of the meat.

2. Slice the corned beef and drain the sauerkraut.

3. For each sandwich, toast two slices of rye bread. Butter each slice on one side. Place one piece buttered side up, top with several slices of hot corned beef, and spoon hot drained sauerkraut over corned beef. Arrange slices of Swiss cheese over the sauerkraut and broil until the cheese melts. Top with remaining pieces of toast (and Russian dressing) butter side down. Makes ten to 12 sandwiches.

Note: If you don't have Russian dressing, or don't want Russian dressing for anything but these sandwiches, you can make your own. Combine 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, a tablespoon of pickle relish, and a teaspoon of chili powder and mix it up. Voila, Russian dressing.

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