Reuben sandwiches are the perfect way to use up leftover corned beef (if there is such a thing)!
Reuben sandwiches are an interesting phenomenon. They include a lot of things that a lot of people don’t like: corned beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island or Russian dressing, and rye bread (I think most people are good with Swiss cheese), yet an awful lot of people that I know love Reubens. It seems that the combination of all of the above equals a sum greater than its parts. Honestly, though, because I (a) didn’t like rye bread; and (b) didn’t like sauerkraut, I’d never even attempt to eat a Reuben for a long, long time.
I married a man, however, who almost always orders the Reuben if it’s on a menu, especially if the restaurant makes the claim to have the “best Reuben in town” (a lot of places do). By the way, his current #1 Reuben in Chattanooga is at Vine Street Market. Anyway, I never even gave a Reuben a second glance until I watched him eat them time and time again and finally, I had to give it a go. You know what? In that first bite, I got it. Greater than the sum of its parts….absolutely.
You can buy corned beef sliced at the deli, but why bother when you have leftovers from the requisite St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinner? I love leftovers, you guys. I usually only cook three nights a week, yet we eat at home six nights a week. If I am really thinking ahead-like I was with this corned beef-I can get three meals out of one. If you take a little time to do a little extra cooking, you can repurpose your leftovers into something different…and maybe even better than the original meal. I find that turning one night’s leftovers into something else reduces the “that again?!?!?!” feelings that I used to always get (unless there were tacos. Taco leftovers always welcome.).
A couple of notes about these Reuben sandwiches: you are welcome to use store-bought dressing; I won’t judge. Use Thousand Island or Russian, whatever you like better; Thousand Island is a little sweeter, Russian is a little spicier, usually made horseradish (I made mine with sriracha, which I know is 100% not traditional, but we didn’t have horseradish in the house). Feel free to use deli corned beef as well. Just do me ONE FAVOR. Please be sure to warm the meat and the sauerkraut a little before you assemble your sandwich. There’s a restaurant I’ve eaten at a couple of times that has-both times-served me grilled sandwiches piled thickly with meat…that was cold in the center. If the sandwich is warm…all of the ingredients must be warm. End of discussion.
Do you like Reuben sandwiches? If not, what is it about them that you don’t like?
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish or 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon pickle relish
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Russian dressing (ingredients above)
- 4 slices rye or marble rye bread
- 10-12 ounces corned beef - shredded or thinly sliced
- 4 ounces thinly sliced Swiss cheese
- 1 cup sauerkraut
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted
- Make the dressing: Stir together all of the dressing ingredients in a small jar. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Prep to make the sandwiches: Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Warm the corned beef and the sauerkraut (I used the microwave). Lay the bread out on a large cutting board.
- Assemble the sandwiches: Divide the corned beef among 4 slices of the bread. Top each piece of bread with 1/4 cup of sauerkraut then divide the Swiss cheese among the slices of bread. Top with the remaining slices of bread. Brush the outside of each slice of bread with butter.
- Grill the sandwiches: Carefully place two of the sandwiches into the heated pan and grill until golden brown on the bottom, 3-5 minutes. I like to use a second pan to weight the sandwiches. Carefully flip the sandwiches and grill another 3-5 minutes until brown on the other side. Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
- Carefully remove the top slice of bread and drizzle dressing over each sandwich. Replace the bread. Serve the sandwiches immediately.
Click here to print the recipe for homemade Reuben sandwiches!