The origins of the Reuben sandwich are widely contested, but it is certain that many a palate has savored the rich deli taste of the corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut-laden stack.
One story related to famed chef Craig Claiborne, by Patricia Taylor, contends that her father, Arnold Reuben, made the first Reuben sandwich in 1927 or 1928 in his New York deli. It was actually rye, ham, and Swiss cheese with a topping of cole slaw and Russian dressing.
Reuben Kulakofsky, a wholesale grocer and restaurateur in Omaha, made the sandwich for his poker buddies and it later appeared on the menu of the Blackstone Hotel.
While the Reuben sandwich could be Jewish or Nebraska homegrown in origin, corned beef is an Irish staple for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
Irish Reuben Casserole
3 cups toasted pumpernickel bread cut into one-inch cubes
1 pound corned beef deli slices or slices from a boiled slab
12 slices Swiss deli cheese
1 cup sauerkraut
1 bottle Thousand Island dressing for garnish or condiment
Layer the bottom of a large rectangular glass baking dish with half the cubes of toasted Pumpernickel.
Layer six slices of the Swiss cheese on top. Next, add a layer of the corned beef and another layer of Swiss cheese.
Spread the sauerkraut evenly over the top of the Swiss cheese layer and spread the remaining toasted cubes of bread on the top. Bake at 350 degrees until the top layer of bread becomes firm and crusty.
Drizzle the dressing lightly across the top and place a bowl of it on the table as a condiment. Green Goddess dressing can be substituted as the drizzle for a St. Paddy’s Day touch.