Recipe: Southern Reuben

Savor the South Sampler

Biscuits: a Savor the South® cookbook, by Belinda EllisEvery Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes–from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Belinda Ellis’s Biscuits. Ellis is editor of Edible Piedmont, a North Carolina food magazine, and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Her recipe is a southern take on a Reuben Sandwich, made with rye biscuits instead of traditional rye bread. This sandwich is scrumptious for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast!

Connect with Ellis on Twitter @belindaellis, and “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Southern Reuben

Makes 4 small sandwiches or 2 New York-sized sandwiches
Servings: 4 small sandwiches


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (soft wheat)
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsps caraway seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk plus more if needed
  • Extra all-purpose flour
  • Melted butter for brushing the tops
  • 4 Tbsps Russian or Thousand Island dressing
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut well-drained
  • 1/2 lb corned beef thinly sliced
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 450°. Use a nonstick cake pan or baking sheet.
  • Whisk together the all-purpose flour, rye flour, baking powder, salt, and caraway seeds in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix together the olive oil and milk in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the olive oil and milk. Starting at the sides of the bowl, use a spatula or wooden spoon to toss the flour over the milk. Continue to work in the flour from the sides of the bowl, just until the dough comes together.
  • If the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and sticks to your fingers, you have the right amount of milk. If there are dry spots and the dough isn’t sticky when you touch it, add more milk.
  • Dust a surface with all-purpose flour and turn the dough out onto the surface. Flour your hands, then cuddle the dough by pressing your hands around the outer edges. Pat and press the top of the dough with your floured hands. Fold the dough in half, pat it, and fold it again. Repeat this two or three times until the outside of the dough feels less sticky and becomes smooth.
  • Use a rolling pin or pat the dough 1⁄2 inch thick.
  • Cut the biscuits using a 3-inch biscuit cutter without twisting the cutter, or for large sandwiches, cut the dough in half with a bench knife, and then cut around the edges to make 2 large squares. Place the biscuits in the cake pan or baking sheet so they touch if you like soft sides or about 1⁄2 inch apart for crisper sides.
  • Bake the biscuits in the center of the oven until they’re light golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Brush the tops with melted butter.
  • To assemble the sandwich, slice each biscuit in half horizontally once the biscuits have cooled slightly. Spread dressing on each cut side, then place sauerkraut, corned beef, and a slice of Swiss cheese on the bottom half of the biscuit. Top with the other half, dressing-side down. Butter the outside of the biscuits and place them in a skillet over medium-high heat, cover with a lid, and cook to brown the outside and melt the cheese, turning once.


From Biscuits: a Savor the South® cookbook by Belinda Ellis. Copyright © 2013 by Belinda Ellis.