Hello lovelies. I’m going through a major sandwich phase (because carbs) so I thought why not share my absolute favourite. The Reuben is a New York classic, a take on the traditional Jewish hot beef on rye that is made extra yummy by the addition of Swiss cheese that gets slightly melted to a chewy consistency before you chow down on its epic deliciousness. For me, no visit to New York is complete without a visit to Katz’s Deli to smash one of their sky-high Reuben’s served by one of their (in)famously cranky waiters (no really, you may leave in tears). While I will never recreate the splendour that is a Katz’s classic Reuben, my version to make at home is pretty damn fine if I do say so myself.
You can use deli-bought pastrami but I would definitely make the effort of seeking out the kosher aisle at your nearest big supermarket and look for vacuum packed brisket with as much fat as you can handle (brisket is recognisable by its pinkness – not polony pink, but close, somewhat grainy texture and streaks of fat that become meltingly soft when warmed). Make sure you pay attention to the shopping list below so as to not be caught without any of the ingredients and take my word for it, double up because once you’ve wolfed down your first Reuben, the minute your stomach has space for more you’ll want to repeat this exercise in comfort eating…
My Version Of The Classic Reuben
Light or medium-light rye bread, preferably sliced by one of those supermarket machines
Kosher chicken or vegetable fat spread (it comes in a tub and is a substitute for butter or margarine – if you can’t find it don’t stress, it’s not essential but really gives the sandwich an authentic flavour)
Sweet as well as hot mustard
Mayonnaise, preferably best quality
Very creamy coleslaw (Spar does a great version in their fresh food department)
Kosher brisket (it usually comes in a vacuum pack). Only substitute with sliced pastrami if you absolutely can’t find kosher brisket
Slices of pickle (I like slicing mine lengthways)
Slices of Swiss cheese
Slices of tomato
* Put a pot of water on to boil and warm your meat in its vacuum pack until you reckon it’s fully hot. If you don’t want to do it this way, or your meat isn’t vacuum packed, then warm on a plate in the oven but watch it doesn’t dry out (so just a few minutes… The boiling-in-the-bag method ensures the meat stays juicy, which is what you want)
* Grill two slices of bread on a griddle pan or toast until nicely browned
* Spread both slices with a layer of vegetable or chicken fat, a thin layer of mayonnaise, then on one slice of bread spread sweet mustard, on the other slice spread some hot mustard
* Put a two or three slices of meat onto each side of the toasted bread, then top with slices of pickle and tomato
* Top all of that with coleslaw
* Then top ALL of that with your slices of Swiss cheese, and pop each open slice under the grill for a few minutes just until the cheese is melting
* Put the two sandwich halves together – you may need a wooden skewer to hold the sandwich together – and serve with ice cold beer or, in my case, a frosty Coca Cola.
No need to be ladylike here: this sandwich was meant to be devoured like a philistine.
One hundred percent om-nom-nom satisfaction guaranteed.