I love me a good Reuben Sandwich. I’ve posted a couple of versions before, The Classic and The Breakfast Reuben. I’m not such a purest that I’m not willing to try a new angle on my old favorite, hence The Fried Bologna Reuben Sandwich! Don’t get your panties in a bunch. This is good food, I tell ya’. Fried bologna isn’t new. Quite the contrary. It’s a flavor from our past, but it shouldn’t be. It certainly is part of my past. You see Fried Bologna Sandwiches on many diner menus, particularly in the South.
For this, I prefer garlic bologna, but that is somewhat regional. I wasn’t able to find it when we lived in the Northeast, but in the South (not Florida) and in the Midwest you can purchase it at most supermarket delis. To make a perfect Reuben, you need to remember a couple of things—first, drain the sauerkraut. I like to drain it overnight, but that requires planning ahead. As you know, The Goddess, well let’s just say, this area of her life needs work…like a major renovation! But, if you can drain the sauerkraut overnight, it is better. If you can’t…you know, because the planetary alignment is out of whack, then just drain it for at least 20 minutes, pressing down of it. You can squeeze it, bare knuckle, so to speak. Second, we’re going to cut “slits” in each slice, as if cutting a pie into wedges. But don’t cut all the way through to the center—sort like a pinwheel. We do this because otherwise the bologna will probably buckle and it won’t sear well. I use two-three slices per sandwich, but that’s up to you. When we fry bologna, it should be sliced about 1/8-inch thick. The pre-sliced “thick” bologna, in packages, is usually just a bit too thick for me, as it doesn’t crisp as much, and regular bologna is too thin and will over-crisp. I place the slices in a cast iron skillet, set over medium heat. This is perfect for searing the meat, and achieving a nice bit of crusty browness. I don’t add any extra fat, as there is usually enough to brown it up nicely.
I see no reason to give you a formal recipe. You don’t need it. You’re making a typical Reuben Sandwich, but instead of corned beef, we’re using bologna, but frying it first. Of course, you already have a container of Creamy Russian Dressing in your fridge, waiting patiently, for your next sandwich. For each sandwich, you’ll need:
- 3 slices of bologna (garlic or otherwise)
- 2 slices rye bread (or use whatever type of bread you prefer or GF, if needed)
- a good 1/2 cup well-drained sauerkraut
- 2-3 slices Swiss cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer)
- A little German-style mustard (this is a preference of mine)
- Butter or mayonnaise to smear on the exterior of the sandwich
You’re going to build your sandwich as follows—bread, Creamy Russian Dressing, sauerkraut (well-drained), fried bologna, Swiss cheese (shreds or slices). I do this “open-faced”, pouring about 2 teaspoons of water along the edge, pop the lid on and lower the heat. You’ll get a nice brown crust and the cheese gets all melty. It works pretty well. That’s it! Now, onto your plate and enjoy!