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Kentucky Hot Brown

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In the 1920's, the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Diners were rapidly growing bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, and a delicate Mornay sauce. The Hot Brown was born!!

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Ingredients

  • Recipe makes 4 sandwiches:
  • 2 tablespoons real butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese or grated Parmesan Romano blend (or other cheese of choice, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • Sliced leftover oven-roasted turkey breast or Deli roasted turkey breast (about 1 lb)
  • 4 thick slices Texas Toast or diagonal-sliced French or Italian Bread, crusts removed
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Paprika for garnish, optional
  • Parsley for garnish, optional

Details

Preparation

Step 1

Cook the bacon until done but not hard. Drain on paper towels.

In a 2-quart saucepan with a cover, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk until well blended. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly until it thickens.

Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cover saucepan and keep warm.

Toast the bread slices. (Both sides need to be lightly toasted).

Move an oven rack to the highest position; preheat oven to BROIL.

In a large ovenproof dish, arrange toasted bread slices; then layer with sliced turkey, a little cheese sauce, tomato slices, a little salt and pepper, and enough cheese sauce to cover.

Place the sandwiches under broiler and cook until sauce begins to brown lightly -- 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with a little grated parmesan cheese, paprika, and parsley; then criss-cross 2 strips of bacon over the top of each sandwich. Serve immediately.

((NOTE: For easier eating, the bacon can be roughly chopped or crumbled on top)).

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