The Rachel


Who doesn't love a great sandwich? They're quick and relatively easy to prepare. They're pretty much self-contained, portable and are appropriate in almost any situation. The various possible combinations and ratios of breads and fillings are virtually endless. And, they are delicious!

When my father was alive, his office was right down the hall from Mr. SGCC's and mine. Even after he retired, he still showed up every day, for at least a few hours to putter around and socialize with the rest of us working stiffs in the building. One of his favorite things to do was to go out for lunch. We always knew when it was lunchtime by the sound of his telltale whistling as he made his way down the hallway. He whistled all the time! When we were kids, that whistle was our alarm clock! Anyway, he'd pop his head into our office, cajole us into taking a lunch break and off we'd go.


Dad's sandwich of choice was the Ruben, which is a grilled sandwich made with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and dripping with either Russian or Thousand Island dressing. It is typically made with rye bread. Over the years, I think that Dad sampled every Ruben in town, and many others out of town too! I have to confess, Mr. SGCC and I developed a fondness for Ruben sandwiches too.

A few years ago, I learned about a variation on the Ruben that liked even better, aptly called a Rachel. A Rachel sandwich is exactly the same as a Ruben, except the corned beef is swapped out with pastrami and coleslaw is often substituted for sauerkraut.

Since we are going out of town in a few days, I've been trying to keep my cooking at home to a minimum. Call it nostalgia, but I've had such a yen for a Rachel sandwich lately, so I decided to pick up the ingredients and make some.


What I did was lightly butter the outsides of some fresh rye bread and spread the insides with thousand island dressing. For each sandwich, I layered some muenster cheese and lean pastrami on one slice of the bread, topped them all with some well-drained sauerkraut and covered them with the rest of the bread. Then, I grilled them in my Griddler until they were all hot and oozey inside. That's it! Done!

There really is no set recipe for these. That defeats the purpose of "quick and easy". I used muenster cheese, because we like it, but you could use any kind of cheese you want. I used sauerkraut instead of coleslaw, again, because we like it that way. You could use either. With the Holidays approaching, I'm sure we'll all have many hectic evenings when cooking will seem like a chore. For those times, just pop a Ruben or a Rachel on the griddle or grill, add a little soup or salad and you're good to go!



CookiePie said…
Looks fantastic! Like something you'd get in one of delis here in NYC. Delish! :)

P.S. - I just bought some acorn squash and am going to make your apple-maple acorn squash puree tonight - can't wait!
The Food Hunter said…
Looks delicious. I like the idea of using pastrami.
Rachel J said…
Do you think it's a coincidence that I'm a Rachel, love pastrami and sauekraut, annndd was a sandwich artist for 4 years? I think not. This post is part of my destiny to be a lifelong sandwich admirer. Thanks so much for giving it the attention it deserves. :) (Plus it's the 'correct' spelling of Rachel too!)
Hi Susan!

You're right quick and easy ..delicious! Me first impression when I see the picture was WOW..
I'm far for dinner but urgently I need something similar right now..the pastrami and muenster cheese give an awesome colorful picture!

Gera .:. sweetsfoods
Jodie said…
I love pastrami! I'll have to try this. My dad loves reubens, too. Maybe it's a generational thing.. I loved that story about your dad too. What a fun memory!
And here I was thinking you named a sandwich after me.

I do love reubens, although I tend to like them dressing-free and I'll eat most variations such as swapping out saurekraut for cole slaw and pastrami for corned beef.

Actually a few years ago I used to often buy lunch at a sandwich shop called The Sandwich Maestro. They had a menu of specialty sandwiches, a special sandwich of the week, and of course the option to create your own. I went in and requested a sandwich of corned beef, cole slaw, and swiss on rye. The person behind the counter said it sounded good and that it was a good idea for a weekly special. I said that they should name it after me. Since the shop had a music theme to it, I said they should call it Rachel's Rhapsody.

A couple of weeks later the sandwich in question appeared on teh weekly special menu - but they didn't name it after me.
Yikes, that IS a serious amount of meat. You're making me so hungry and I can't eat right now because my lips are numb from the dentist and I already bit them 3 times!
Manggy said…
Ah, I thought we'd be getting a discourse on post-modern hairstyles, heh heh heh :) Well, what we got was something better... A hearty, voluptuous sandwich! Actually I've never tasted pastrami before but the Rachel looks soo good!
Kalyn Denny said…
Looks delicious. I like the idea of the coleslaw, but I'll stick with the corned beef. So what shall we call this new sandwich now? How about the Ruchel?
Donna said…
Well, after all the turkey I will have this weekend and next Thursday, I will be very much in need of something different. This sounds great. I love pastrami and coleslaw!
squawmama said…
Oh girlfriend.... here I stopped by in the middle of the night and you have me drooling on the keyboard... YUMMO!!! I'll be going out tomorrow and buying the stuff to make this one... Love Rubens so I know I'll love the Rachel... Have a great day!!!

Anonymous said…
Ooohhh yuummmm love the generous layer of pastrami mmmmm and the melty chhheeeesse *droolllss* can't get any better!
Debbie said…
The sandwich looks delish!! I love muenster cheese. My oldest son is a whistler like your dad. When he was little he whistled all the he is 24 and still whistling, especially when he is happy and in a good mood. It's a dead giveaway!!!!
Yup - so THIS is totally a sandwich!

RecipeGirl said…
I'm a humongo fan of the Ruben, so Rachel might be just right up my alley! Thanks for the tip :)
I love reminds me of Montreal Smoked Meat:D
Unknown said…
Looks yummy! I have to make this for my husband soon. Right up his alley. Thanks!! ;)
grace said…
i've always avoided rubens because i can't stand'd better believe i'll be on the lookout for the rachel. :)
Anonymous said…
As a self-described aficionado of the Reuben, my wife (Dr. E.) and I have developed our own minor variation of the traditional method.

When I posted it on my blog (, it was read over 400 times (at last count) . . . so someone must like it . . . LOL!

Or maybe, it was my version of "DocChuck's Choice Homemade Russian Dressing" that attracted some of the attention.

I think a few folks were enamored with the homemade, versus the commercial, Russian dressing.

Anyway, I loved your post on the Rachel variation AND your photos.
Jennifer said…
My local bagel place, Noah's has this very sandwich and I love it. Now that I know exactly whats in it I shall make it! Thanks
Jescel said…
never had the Rachel before but i'm sure i'm gonna like it... afterall, i like all the Rachel's I've met.. so far anyways.. :o)
Ali said…
I love Ruebens!

I think there are a few "Rachel" sandwiches out there. I had always heard that a "rachel" was essentially a Rueben, but with turkey. Maybe it is a regional thing?

(Martha's Rachel here.)

Doesn't really matter what you call it though, they are all insanely delish. :)
Susan @ SGCC said…
CookiePie- Thanks! Glad you like it. Let me know how your acorn squash turns out.

Food Hunter- Thanks!

CaptnRachel- Lol! That is quite a coincidence! My daughter is a Rachel and that's how we spell it too.

Gera- I'm so glad you like it! I wish I had one right now, myself.

Jodie- Maybe so. I'm glad you liked the sandwich and the story. :)

S(d)OC- Hehe! Of course I did!

I can't believe that Sandwich Maestro stiffed you on naming the sandwich. You should sue! ;)

Peanut Butter Boy- Ouch! I hope you feel better soon!

Manggy- Lol! I remember that hairstyle. Trust me. The sandwich is better! ;)

Kalyn- I love it! Ruchel it is. ;)

Donna- Oh yeah. Pastrami will definitely be a nice break from turkey.

Squawmama- Hehehe! You crack me up! I'm glad you like it! :D

FFichiban- Thank you!

Debbie- Thanks! My dad's whistle was his trademark. He was always in a good mood.

Darius- That, it is. Hope that's a good thing! ;)

RecipeGirl- You're welcome. I actually like pastrami better. It isn't as salty or fatty as corned beef.

Valli- Oooh! That sounds pretty good too!

Erpeer- You're welcome. Hope he likes it!

Grace- This is perfect for you. Mini-SGCC like coleslaw better too.

DocChuck- Thanks! I'm going to have to check out your Russian dressing. I love it, but can never find it at the market. I'd love to know how to make my own. Homemade is always better.

Cheryl- There you go. Think of all the money you can save by making it yourself. ;)

Jescel- Lol! Well, if you try it, let me know if you do like it. :)

Ali- You're probably right. We have a restaurant her that makes it with pastrami and Wikipedia says pastrami too. I think I saw someone make it on a cooking show with smoked turkey once.
Olga said…
OH MY GOD! My dinner totally sucked, and then I had to look at this? :) Do you deliver?
test it comm said…
Now that is a sandwich!!
Mary Coleman said…
Ok.I have to have a Griddler. Immediate Christmas list addition!
MaryBeth said…
There is nothing better than a thick, hearty sammie. This looks so good.
Anonymous said…
I've got to try this version, I love pastrami and kraut and everything really so what a treat this would be!
Nina Timm said…
Oh my goodness, I only use one slice of pastrami at a time...I need to repent!!!!
Lori Lynn said…
I just got myself a Griddler. Having a great time with it!
The Rachel looks excellent, I have to try that.
Nicole said…
This is so my style of sandwich. Looks fab!
MrsDocChuck said…
Just a note of caution: the recipe on my husband's MySpace page has a few mistakes in it, so I wouldn't use it until he fixes it.

His weight and health issues have ruled out Rueben and Rachael sandwiches for him and I'm afraid he hasn't made that dressing for at least 2 or 3 years. Hence the problems with it.

We did used to love these delicious sandwiches though. With extra gooey cheese!
What a fantastic-looking sandwich!
Anonymous said…
That looks so mouthwatering. Great photos!

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