A Win Hands Down: Hot Browns – Kentucky

It’s Kentucky Derby week! Some of the good eats associated with the Derby include mint juleps (see our recipe for the hands down best way to pump up the mint flavor) and decadent Bourbon Pecan Pie. Add to that Hot Browns, an open faced turkey sandwich fancied

Hot Browns - Kentucky

 

up with mouthwatering Mornay sauce and then topped with tomatoes, bacon and Pecorino Romano cheese. Invented at the Brown Hotel in the 1920s to satiate dinner-dance guests, this knife and fork sandwich has been wowing Louisville residents and visitors for close to a century.

Of course the best Hot Browns are made when you can roast your own turkey. If that is too involved for you, freshly sliced deli turkey will work too. Mornay sauce is a white cheese sauce that is actually very simple to make. Classically made with Gruyere, the Brown Hotel uses Pecorino Romano but we used a sharp cheddar to mix it up a bit.

Don your fanciest hat or fascinator and make your way to Louisville on May 7 for the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

 

Hot Browns

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

For Mornay Sauce:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste

For Sandwiches:

  • 4 slices thick sliced white bread with crusts removed, toasted
  • 2 pounds sliced turkey, divided
  • 2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices cooked bacon
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely diced parsley
  • Paprika

Instructions

To make Mornay sauce: In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and make a roux. Cook roux, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add milk in a thin stream and whisk until sauce is thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, add cheese and stir until melted. Add cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Set aside.

To assemble sandwiches: Arrange toasted bread on a baking sheet. Divide the turkey into four equal parts. Top each sandwich with Mornay sauce, then tomato slices, then two slices of bacon arranged in a cross. Sprinkle each sandwich with Pecorino Romano cheese and paprika. Place under broiler for 5 minutes or until tops of sandwiches are bubbling. Sprinkle diced parsley on top before serving.

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