Reuben Meatloaf: The Ultimate Food Mashup You Need To Try

Reuben sandwich
Reuben sandwich - Rudisill/Getty Images

The Reuben is one of those sandwiches that seems like an odd combination if you've never had one before -- corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing on pumpernickel rye bread. Still, the second you try it, you realize why it's one of the classic American sandwiches. And the thing about those flavors is they don't work only in sandwich form; you can put them in all sorts of delivery systems. Reuben egg rolls have become a particular favorite on restaurant menus, and turning it into a melt is a clever trick you can use at home.

There's one way to use a Reuben you might not have thought of, though, and it mixes a Reuben with another classically American dish: meatloaf. There are multiple ways to do it, but however you get there, the core concept remains the same: You mix the beefy, baked flavors of meatloaf with the varied, riotous taste explosion of a Reuben sandwich.

Read more: 15 Tips For Making The Best Meatloaf

Reuben Flavors Are Fantastic In Meatloaf

meatloaf slices
meatloaf slices - Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

The combination of Reuben flavors -- the saltiness of the corned beef, the sour taste of the sauerkraut, the tang and creaminess of the Thousand Island -- are great in a variety of contexts, so it's no shock they're fantastic in meatloaf, too. The idea is that you're not replacing the ground beef with corned beef because that would be a textural mess. Instead, you're combining the two (running the corned beef through a food processor first), giving some corned beef flavor without sacrificing the meatloaf's ability to hold together.

There's some variation regarding how to combine the other ingredients. The bread is the easiest part: meatloaf requires breadcrumbs anyway, so use rye breadcrumbs. Some recipes call for Dijon mustard as a glaze, but you can just as easily substitute Thousand Island (and let's be honest, you're being much more true to the spirit of the Reuben if you do). The sauerkraut and shredded Swiss cheese are typically used as a topping, which makes sense; if you try adding those to the meatloaf mixture, you will create some textural problems.

The Origin Of The Reuben Is In Dispute

Reuben sandwich on marble rye
Reuben sandwich on marble rye - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Interestingly, there is significant dispute about the origins of the Reuben as a sandwich. There are two competing claims: One from New York (which, to be fair, likes to claim a lot of things) and one from Omaha, Nebraska. The New York claim is that delicatessen owner Arnold Reuben created it for Broadway actress Marjorie Rambeau. The Omaha claim states that it was created at a weekly poker game at the Blackstone Hotel when a man named Reuben Kulakofsky ordered a pastrami and sauerkraut sandwich. The hotel owner's son, Charles Schimmel, added Swiss cheese and Thousand Island to the order, and it was such a huge hit that they added it to the restaurant menu.

There is significantly more evidence that the Omaha claim is true. While the origin story may seem a bit fanciful, the Reuben sandwich appears on multiple menus from the 1930s and '40s (including one from the Blackstone Hotel itself). The New York story, meanwhile, has only Reuben's family legend to back it up. Wherever it came from, combining Reuben flavor concepts is a sure winner. Putting it in meatloaf feels like a no-brainer.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.