Reubens:  the reason God invented sauerkraut.  Brats need not apply.

Don’t bother buying thousand island dressing.  It’s too easy to make to need to keep around the house.  The general principle is ketchup + mayo + tart + sweet.  Yes, it’s a teensy bit more complicated than mixing ketchup and mayo to dunk fish fingers in.

I found more complicated recipes, but what it boils down to is, take your favorite ingredients to put on a hamburger and throw them in the blender with a little sugar.  You could probably add lettuce and it would still come out okay.

Anyway, my version.

Thousand Island Dressing

1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. mayo
2 T dill pickle relish and 2 T pickle juice
1 t sugar
1 t dried dill

Some grated onion would probably not go amiss.  Also, more than likely you could trade the pickle relish and sugar for sweet pickle relish, but I can’t stand the stuff.  Except here.

A long time ago, I got a request to make sauerkraut.  Not to actually pickle the stuff, but to turn the condiment into a side dish, Eastern European-style.

I decided to adapt that for the sauerkraut. I picked up ground dill seed from the Savory Spice Shop in town. It tastes very earthy, Hungarian/Polish/Russian. I bet ground dill seed is awesome in Borscht.

Sauerkraut for Reubens

1 bag sauerkraut, drained (don’t used canned – nassssty)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced in 1/4-in slices
1 t dill leaves
1 t ground dill seeds (if you can get them)
1 t smoked paprika (optional)
2 T good sherry vinegar

Saute the mushrooms in butter. Add the spices and saute for a moment more.

Add the sauerkraut to the mushrooms and saute until mostly dry. Add sherry vinegar and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Saute until almost dry again and remove from heat. Salt to taste.

And to assemble…

Triple Dill Reubens

Toasted rye bread
Pastrami, thinly sliced
White cheddar, havarti, swiss, what have you, thinly sliced
Sauerkraut, warm (above)
Thousand Island Dressing (above)

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pastrami to the pan; carefully place a couple of cheese slices on top. When the cheese has melted to taste, put the pastrami on a slice of toast and top with sauerkraut. Spread the other piece of toast with dressing and add. Serve immediately.