I think I have mentioned before that when Allen and I met, we realized that we often had opposite tastes in food. He wanted beef, I wanted chicken. Allen liked sour, I liked sweet. He loved salty snacks, but I wanted citrusy snacks. I loved brown rice, he wanted white rice. And when it came to candy, chocolate was best for me, but he wanted gummy bears or licorice.
He wanted Reuben Sandwiches and I said, “yuck”! But when I found out about Turkey Reubens, we finally had a compromise; a sandwich we both agreed upon. Well, we also agreed on Grinders , but that’s another story. If you missed it, you can get my version of the Traditional Grinder here or a vegetarian Asparagus Grinder here.
If we weren’t going off to – or hosting- a Super Bowl party, this Turkey Reuben Sandwich was the kind of sandwich that Allen loved for half time munching. Unpretentious, hearty, slightly sloppy, and completely satisfying –what could be better? Oh, did I mention easy and quick? Oh, yeah, one more thing: this sandwich is not as heavy and fatty as its beefy counterpart, pastrami (or corned beef) and sauerkraut.
Remembering to drain the red cabbage ahead of time is the only crucial, think-ahead part of the Turkey Reuben. Otherwise you will end up with a soggy sandwich that falls apart when picked up. I also think a rye bread or swirled rye and pumpernickel is great as the bread choice. Or a nice dark pumpernickel–just avoid a wimpy white.
I like to drain the cabbage ahead, then get all of the the other ingredients together on the counter during a commercial just before half time. Then the sandwiches can be quickly assembled and ready for a nice toasting on the stovetop, quick flip and finish.
Lay the bread out in assembly line fashion and spread the pieces with mayonnaise, NOT salad dressing (too sweet). The mayo protects the bread from getting soggy when layering the red cabbage on top. Swiss cheese and as much turkey as you like goes on the other side.
Stack the two sides together and spread butter on the top side. I like to melt butter in the fry pan while doing this, and then just slide the unbuttered side of each sandwich into the pan. Cover and toast the undersides on medium heat until golden brown. (Covering gives the cheese a nice head start on melty, oozy goodness.)
Flip the sandwiches over, and continue cooking, uncovered, until crisp and golden brown on the second side. Serve with chips, pickles or ready made sides like potato salad and/or coleslaw.
Of course, these are also good anytime of the year for a quick, satisfying meal. Perfect with a bowl of tomato soup, too.
Turkey Reuben Sandwiches
- 8 slices marble rye, rye, or pumpernickel bread
- 12-16 ounces sliced roasted turkey
- 8-16 slices Swiss cheese
- 2 (16 ounce) jars Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, well drained
- Butter (or substitute like Earth Balance), softened
Lay bread out in assembly line fashion and spread mayonnaise on each bread slice.
Layer turkey and Swiss cheese on one side of sandwich and red cabbage on the corresponding slice of bread.
Assemble sandwiches and spread butter on the top side of each sandwich.
Melt butter in a large fry pan and slide the unbuttered side of each sandwich into the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until the bottoms are toasted (the butter on the top side will start to look melted). Carefully flip the sandwiches over and continue to cook, uncovered, until the second side is golden brown, and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.