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Reuben Sandwiches

Piled high with such delicatessen staples as corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, and creamy Russian dressing, this warm and cheesy sandwich has two very different cities claiming to be its birthplace: New York and Omaha. If you have homemade corned beef left over, by all means, use it.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise (purchased, or see recipe at left)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup-style chili sauce or ketchup
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped bread-and-butter pickles
  • About 3/4 lb. cooked corned beef, sliced
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup well drained sauerkraut
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions:

To make the Russian dressing, in a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, chili sauce and chopped pickles. Set aside.

To make the sandwiches, preheat a griddle or 2 large frying pans over medium heat. Add the corned beef and cook, turning occasionally, just until heated but not browned, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Lay the bread slices on a work surface and spread each slice with 1 Tbs.of the dressing. Trim the slices of Swiss cheese to fit the bread slices, then place 1 cheese slice on each of 4 bread slices. Top each with one-fourth of the corned beef, followed by 1/4 cup of the sauerkraut, and then 1 more cheese slice. Top with the remaining bread slices, dressing side down. Spread the outside top and bottom of each sandwich with about 2 Tbs. of the butter.

Place the sandwiches on the griddle and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until golden brown on the bottoms, about 4 minutes. The sandwiches should cook fairly slowly to allow the bread to brown without burning while the cheese melts. Flip the sandwiches and brown the second sides, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve hot, passing the remaining dressing on the side. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Variation: Use pastrami or smoked ham instead of the corned beef, and pumpernickel in place of the rye. Creamy coleslaw (see recipe at left) is excellent in place of the sauerkraut and cheese, especially with pastrami.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).