Sloppy with sauerkraut, creamy russian dressing, swiss cheese, and folds of thinly sliced corned beef, the griddled, rye bread-clad reuben is the epitome of a New York Jewish-American delicatessen sandwich. Or is it? Although its invention is usually ascribed to Arnold Reuben, the proprietor of the old Manhattan deli Reuben’s, many cite Reuben Kay, a wholesale grocer in Omaha, Nebraska—who supposedly made the eponymous sandwich for poker games at the Blackstone Hotel in the 1920s—as its creator. Either way, it’s now an American mainstay. This recipe is based on one in Arthur Schwartz’s New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2004).
- 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp. chili sauce
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tsp. finely grated yellow onion
- 1⁄2 tsp. drained grated horseradish
- 1⁄4 tsp. worcestershire sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Butter, softened
- 8 slices rye bread
- 8 slices swiss cheese
- 2 cups drained sauerkraut
- 1 lb. thinly sliced corned beef
- Put mayonnaise, chili sauce, parsley, onion, horseradish, worcestershire, and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste into a medium bowl and stir well to combine; set Russian dressing aside.
- Butter rye bread, then flip over and spread each slice with about 1 tbsp. of the dressing. Top 4 of the bread slices with 2 slices swiss cheese, 1⁄2 cup sauerkraut, and 1⁄4 lb. corned beef each. Top each of those slices with 1 of remaining slices of bread, dressing side down.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and, working in batches if necessary, add sandwiches in a single layer. Cook, flipping once and occasionally pressing the sandwiches down with a wide metal spatula, until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Serve immediately.