What’s a Reuben, you say? It’s only the best goddam thing to ever come out of New York (Note: read in thick New York accent). Except for cheesecake. And Friends. It’s an iconic, towering sarnie often found in Jewish delis and made traditionally with corned beef or pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. Surprisingly European for an American favourite, I know.
I was shopping in my local Polish deli, looking longingly at the sauerkraut aisle, when the urge to eat one struck me, hard. I had to have one. So, I set about creating a low FODMAP version, and started the two week process of making my sauerkraut. Now that’s dedication to sandwiches that even one of my food heroes Helen Graves, professional sandwich lover and creator of The London Review of Sandwiches, would approve of.
There’s nothing quite like a Reuben, with its salty and peppery beef, the sourness of the ferment and the sharp, melty, rich Swiss cheese. It’s honestly the best toastie I’ve ever made. Like I said, it’s ordinarily made with corned beef or sauerkraut, but if you can get hold of smoked beef (I got mine from the same local Polish deli) then please do it – it’s a whoooooole other level.
Excuse me whilst I book my flights to New York.
My initial thoughts were that there’s no way this thing could work on the low FODMAP diet. But persistence is key.
The low FODMAP diet is a funny one when it comes to fermented foods. Whilst they’re normally hailed for their positive gut impact, they’re actually high in FODMAPs so things like kimchi are, so so sadly, off the menu. BUT sauerkraut made with red cabbage is much lower in FODMAPs and tolerated in small amounts. Hooray! So here I use that instead of traditional sauerkraut.
And I’ve talked about bread many times before but for anyone in doubt, you do not have to cut out bread just because you’re following a low FODMAP diet. The founders of the diet say that two slices of sourdough bread are absolutely fine. But it does have to be sourdough. You can give gluten free bread a go if you like, at your own risk.
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- 80g smoked beef (corned beef or pastrami are traditional but I found smoked beef in the Polish deli and wow)
- 2 tbsp red cabbage sauerkraut – I followed the recipe by A Little Bit Yummy but you can also buy it pre-made
- 50g gruyére
- 2 tbsp butter
- Gherkins to serve
For the Russian dressing:
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp horseradish cream
- Half a tsp Tabasco
- Half a tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp finely chopped cornichon or gherkin
- 1 tbsp finely chopped spring onion
- Make your Russian dressing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing well. Grate your cheese and set both aside, ready for assembly.
- Butter one side of each of your slices of sourdough then lay one, butter side down, on a plate ready to build the sandwich on. The butter should be on the outside of both slices of bread.
- Layer on the beef (yes, 80g is a lot, but it’s important that it’s packed full), then the sauerkraut and finally the gruyére. Spread the Russian dressing on the other piece of bread, the opposite side to the butter and place it, butter side up, on top of the sandwich.
- Heat a frying pan. Once hot, put the sandwich in the pan and leave it there for 4 minutes. Flip the sandwich and cook the other side for 3 minutes.
- Serve with gherkins and get stuck in.