Reuben Sandwiches


Nobody knows why these corned beef, sauerkraut and Gruyère sandwiches on rye bread with caraway seeds are called Reuben, or where they first originated, though it might be reasonable to guess that the inventor had that name and he probably lived in New York, the historic centre of all deli sandwiches, around the turn of the century.

Corned beef is not the stuff you buy in cans, a uniquely British product, but boiled salted silverside, called ‘corned’ because when the meat come out of the pickle and dries, salt crystals form on the surface in small seeds looking like tiny corn kernels.

Americans build their sandwiches so big you can get lockjaw trying to fit one in your mouth.


  • 4 slices of caraway seed rye
  • bread (or plain rye if this
  • proves difficult to find)
  • Dijon mustard
  • 2 slices of Gruyère cheese
  • 225 g/ 8 oz corned beef, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp well-drained sauerkraut
  • 60 g/ 2 oz melted butter
  • potato crisps and dill pickles, to serve

For the Russian Dressing

  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 3 tsp grated horseradish
  • 5 tbsp mayonnaise


First make the Russian dressing: whisk the Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, tomato ketchup and grated horseradish into the mayonnaise.

Preheat a heavy frying pan dry over a low heat. Lay out your 4 pieces of bread and spread 2 of them with Russian dressing and the other 2 with mustard. Put a slice of cheese on the bread spread with dressing, trimming it to fit neatly. Arrange half the corned beef on top of each mustard-spread slice. Top with the sauerkraut and invert the cheese bread slice on top to complete the sandwiches.

Brush one side of each sandwich with half the melted butter and place in the pan, butter side down. Increase the heat slightly and cook for 3 minutes. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter, turn and give it another 3 minutes.

Remove the sandwiches from the pan and cut in half diagonally before serving with potato chips and dill pickles on the side.