Monday, May 9, 2011

The Accidental Reuben

Disclaimer: the following post may offend you if you're a food purist. Culinary discretion is advised.

Steve & I had hot dogs for dinner one recent night, and as a result we had most of a jar of leftover sauerkraut. Come lunchtime today, I had a brainstorm: I'll make myself a Reuben! It's one of my guiltiest of food pleasures. Despite its reputation as a heart attack on a plate, I must have one when I see it on a menu, no matter how healthy I'm trying to eat.

There were only a few small things standing in my way. First, we had no pastrami, but we did have turkey breast. That's all right... a Reuben can indeed be made with turkey breast (although then it's called a Rachel instead of a Reuben). We didn't have any rye bread, either, but we did have some good rustic whole wheat bread. Oops, the traditional Swiss cheese was also MIA, but we did have cheddar. Okay, I can make that swap. Oh, and we had no Thousand Island dressing, but we did have some roasted eggplant and garlic dip that was kind of the same color as the dressing. Well, that could've been the deal-breaker, but I decided to suck it up and roll with it. Keep in mind that we live three blocks from a Safeway store that stocks all of the things my fridge lacked. No problem: I was up for the challenge of creating something edible with only the ingredients I had on hand.... kind of my own version of Food Network's "Chopped".

I fired up the grill pan, spread a little butter on the bread, assembled my mismatched ingredients, and hoped for the best. I'm not gonna lie: I was concerned that I'd take one bite of the sandwich and chuck the whole thing because it was so objectionable. But I've gotta admit that it turned out pretty well!

Lesson learned: a little experimentation can be a good thing. I need to come up with a better name for my creation than "The Accidental Reuben", but I think the sandwich just might be a keeper. We still have lots of sauerkraut to use up, though... maybe I'll let Steve be the mad scientist next time.