American cuisine is a hard thing to pin down, owing to our status as a cultural and culinary melting pot. But Elena Rosemond-Hoerr and Caroline Bretherton have collected an impressive set of recipes they feel represent it best in The American Cookbook: A Fresh Take on Classic Recipes.

Tales abound about who invented this sandwich, with Arnold Reuben of Reuben's Delicatessen in New York City and Reuben Kulakofsky, a grocer from Omaha, Nebraska, both strong contenders. The first reuben was probably made in the early 20th-century, and by 1956, it had won "best sandwich" in a contest sponsored by the National Restaurant Association.

This sandwich is piled high with classic deli fillings, contrasting sweet, sour and salty flavors.

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins


  • 8 slices of rye bread
  • 16 slices of Swiss or Emmental cheese
  • 1 lb. (450g) corned beef or pastrami
  • 8 tbsp sauerkraut
  • 4 pats of butter

For the Russian dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp creamed horseradish
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, horseradish, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Season well.

2. Spread the dressing over each slice of bread. Layer 4 slives of bread with 2 slices of cheese, 3-5 slives of beef, sauerkraut and 2 more slices of cheese. Top with the remaining slices of bread.

3. Melt a pat of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry each sandwich for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Serve your Reuben hot with refrigerator pickles (see p. 248) and kettle-cooked potato chips.

The American Cookbook by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr and Caroline Bretherton © 2014 DK Publishing. Photographs © Stuart West. Read our review of this book.


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