Recipe Idea: Reuben Sandwiches (And Gluten-Free Veggie Reubens!)

Tonight, like a lot of America, we at Little Griddle are watching basketball.  The games will be great, but there are a few creature comforts that make watching sports better - a great couch, a frosty beverage, a giant high-definition screen.... and a fantastic sandwich.  Tonight, we'll use halftime to make something special.

In this case, special refers to something truly easy, and very tasty - a riff on the classic Reuben sandwich.  This sandwich, usually found grilled in delis, lends itself very well to the griddle, and comes together in no time.  Usually though, the deli Reuben is heavy and greasy, so we're out to create one that you can enjoy without regretting it later.

To start this party, here is what you'll need to make two sandwiches:

  • Four slices of good bread - we used a local Italian bread on one sandwich, and a gluten-free sandwich bread on the other.  Rye would be traditional, of course, and just as good with this recipe.
  • 4 TB Sauerkraut, Drained - There are so many good ones now! Pick your favorite, you can't go wrong here.
  • One Haas avocado - halved lengthwise, pitted, and sliced into 4-5 strips per side
  • Four slices Swiss Cheese - About 4" x 4" each.
  • Thousand Island dressing, to taste
  • Corned Beef - 1/4 pound per sandwich, if using
  • Oil for moderate-heat sauteeing - we used about 4 teaspoons of grapeseed oil for these sandwiches (2 per side), but many different oils would work, and butter would be delicious
  • Frozen french fries - totally optional, but perfect on the side. Make according to the directions on the bag.

To make the sandwiches: begin by pre-heating your oven, if making fries, and lighting your grill. Once the grill is lit lit, place your Little Griddle brand griddle on the grill to pre-heat, pop the fries in the oven, and prepare the sandwiches while the griddle is heating up. If you have a grill thermometer (or a Little Griddle brand surface temperature gauge), try to keep your grill temperature between 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit, or medium-low heat. For this recipe you do not need high heat. You can cook these above 400 degrees, but you will want to watch them very carefully to avoid burning the bread.

To prepare the sandwiches, begin by laying a slice of bread on a cutting board, and top it with one slice of Swiss Cheese, tearing the slice if necessary to fit it within the border of the bread.  Top the cheese with slices of the corned beef, if using. Next, place approximately 2 tablespoons of sauerkraut on each sandwich.  Top the sauerkraut with one half of the avocado, and then pour about 2 tablespoons of Thousand Island dressing on each sandwich.  Place the remaining cheese on top.  Top the sandwich with the other slice of bread, and the sandwiches are ready for the griddle.

Note: we like the cheese on the top and the bottom because in addition to tasting good, it provides some nice melting for the entire sandwich to come together.  It is strictly a preference, though, so if you just want cheese on the top - go for it.

Take your prepared sandwiches out to the grill, open the lid, and pour about two teaspoons of oil on the griddle.  It is helpful to use a steel spatula to spread the oil around the area where you will place the sandwiches.  One the oil is on the griddle, carefully place the sandwiches on the oiled area and close the lid. At this point, your sandwiches will look like this:

[caption id="attachment_85" align="alignnone" width="300"]Reuben sandwiches going on the Little Griddle. Reuben sandwiches going on the Little Griddle.[/caption]

Don't go too far, even if the game comes back on, because there is a fine line between "beautifully toasted" and "scorched."  We're aiming for toasted on this one.

At 350-400 degrees with the lid down, your sandwiches should take about 5-7 minutes per side to cook.  Flip when the first side is toasted and golden brown.  If you like a pressed sandwich, this is the time to weight it down.  When ready to eat, they will look like this:

[caption id="attachment_88" align="alignnone" width="300"]Reubens ready to be eaten. Reubens ready to be eaten.[/caption] Use your spatula to remove the sandwiches to a plate, and bring them inside.  At this point whoever is eating the other sandwich should have your fries out of the oven, so it's time to plate them up!  Here are the two ways we prepared this sandwich: Reuben - Top View Reuben - Plated The version above is the more conventional of the two, made with corned beef on a conventional bread. Veggie Reuben - Top View Veggie Reuben - Plated The second version is still great, but a little different.  It is vegetarian and gluten-free, because we omitted the corned beef and used gluten-free bread on this one.  Even people who like meat would enjoy this version as a change of pace, and because the avocado is so rich, after a few bites you'll forget that it's missing the corned beef. So there you have it!  Two great sandwiches, easily prepared during halftime.  Which makes us all - you guessed it - big winners.  Happy Griddling! (p.s. - need a Little Griddle-brand griddle to cook these on?  Don't forget to visit the Little Griddle store!)

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