Most research in to the origin of the Rueben sandwich credits chef Reuben Kolakowski of the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha Nebraska with its creation. Native New Yorkers disagree vehemently, of course. They firmly believe that Arnold Reuben, a New York City deli owner in the 1930s, deserves the credit.
Originally made with ham and coleslaw, the New York story holds water when considering the classic Reuben evolved to include corned beef, German sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and Jewish seeded rye bread…all of which were recipes brought to the United States by immigrants from Eastern Europe to New York City in the early 1900s. It’s so good that after one bite, no one really cares who invented it anyway.
Delicatessen Reuben Sandwich
- Large nonstick skillet
- 8 slices Jewish seeded rye bread
- 4 tbsp Unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 lb Corned beef, sliced thin
- ½ lb Sauerkraut, drained
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 RECIPE Homemade Russian dressing
- Prep – Microwave corned beef slices with a few tbsp water in a sealed plastic bag for 1½ minutes. Place sauerkraut in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Drain any excess liquid from both. Assemble – Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1 tbsp butter. Spread 1 side of a bread slice with ½ tbsp of softened butter. Place 2 unbuttered slices in the pan. Spread 2 tbsp of Russian dressing on each slice, then top with 1 slice of Swiss cheese, ¼ lb. corned beef, ¼ cup sauerkraut, and a second slice of swiss cheese. Top that with a slice of buttered bread, buttered side up.Cook until golden and crispy on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook, pressing down to compress a little, about 3 minutes more. Both sides should be golden brown and the cheese melted. Transfer to a plate and cover with a second plate. Repeat to make more toasted sandwiches. Cut each in half and serve warm with potato chips and coleslaw.
- Be careful not to burn the toasted bread by keeping heat low and carefully watching.