The construction of this sandwich is inspired by the grilled cheese and beer nights hosted at Andrew's Cheese Shop. You would think I had been to one already, considering my love for beer, cheese, and Andrew, but for some reason I've never made it. Fate has always torn me and that night asunder. But I've heard enough about the grilled cheese night to know that one of Andrew's tricks for a really mean sandwich is to drizzle a little beer over the bread before you toast it, just to get the beer flavor deep in there. It transformed my baguette into a toasty malted rye loaf and rounded out the flavors deliciously. Reubens are best straight out of the oven, but if you have to wait, they also make perfect picnic sandwiches. Enjoy!
1 large baguette
2 lbs pastrami (Niman Ranch makes a delicious one)
3 brown onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1 pint sauerkraut (It is a pain to make from scratch, so buy some from your favorite deli)
6 juniper berries, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 slices gruyere or comte (any swiss cheese will do)
1-1 1/2cup Saison Rue (or any other farmhouse ale)
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Heat a pan over medium heat, add the butter and then the onions. Flavor with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper, and once translucent (about 5-10 minutes) add the garlic. Cook until completely caramelized, meaning a deep golden hue. When they look almost done, turn up the heat to medium high and add 1/2 a cup of the beer. Keep cooking until it has reduced down and has been absorbed into the onions. Set aside. Meanwhile, heat up the sauerkraut in a pan over medium heat with the juniper berries, olive oil, and some salt and pepper for seasoning. When warmed up, add bit of the beer, about 2 tablespoons to a 1/4 cup, and cook until the beer has reduced a bit and is absorbed (about 5 minutes). Set aside. Slice the baguette into three equal sections, then in half lengthwise. Sprinkle each side with 2 tablespoons (or more if you want) of the beer and pop in the oven for 5-10 minutes to dry them out, then crank up to broil for a few second to toast them a bit. Add the pastrami and cheese to the bottom half of each sandwich and return to the oven at 350 F until the cheese has melted. Top with the onions, sauerkraut, and a little mustard, and enjoy with a beer!