A true Reuben sandwich consists of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between two slices of rye bread. Nothing more, nothing less. Simple and delicious. If you have not yet made this classic at home, NOW IS THE TIME! Why? Well, because you have the most crisp and flavor- balanced sauerkraut to smother into that Swiss cheese and Russian dressing (yes, I am talking about our beloved Farmstead Ferments kraut).
There are a few different variations out there of how the Reuben sandwich was invented. I mean, every family is looking for their claim to fame right? The most believable and popular story of the history of the Reuben sandwich began with a grandfather in Omaha, Nebraska who owned a chain of hotels. He had four sons, all of whom he wanted to have trained in some aspect of the business. In 1927 Bernard Schimmel was sent off to Switzerland to learn to be a chef. When he finished his training he came back to Omaha to work at a hotel called Blackstone. His dad always played late night poker at this hotel and him and his friends would always ordered nighttime “munchie” snacks. One of the dad’s friends, Reuben Kulakofsky, asked for a sandwich with corned beef and sauerkraut. He had been a grocery store owner before the store had gone down in family lore. Bernard has been trying to perfect his sauces lately and immediately went into the kitchen to thin slice some corned beef and Swiss cheese. He had drained the sauerkraut juice and mixed it with Thousand Island dressing. His notes had called for it to be served with a sliced kosher dill pickle. The sandwich was a hit and immediately after the friends started raging about it, it stayed on the Blackstone Hotel’s café menu and a few years later the sandwich won in a contest and, really, the rest is history!
What I want to point out in the story is not just HOW amazing sauerkraut makes a sandwich, but also that KRAUT JUICE that was used. That tanginess mixed with the sweetness of Thousand-Island dressing makes a killer combination. When you finish that jar of sauerkraut and don’t know what to do with that extra juice in the bottom quarter, use it in your cooking, mix it with your mayo for a sandwich, throw it in a stir-fry. Why not boost your meal with probiotics AND flavor right?