Kentucky Hot Brown

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!!
Photo by Diane V.

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

4

servings

PREP TIME

--

minutes

TOTAL TIME

--

minutes

SERVINGS

4

servings

Ingredients

  • Recipe makes 4 sandwiches:

  • 2

    tablespoons salted butter

  • 2

    tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2

    cups half-and-half, heavy cream, or whole milk

  • 1/4

    cup Pecorino Romano Cheese or grated Parmesan Romano blend (or other white cheese of choice, amount to taste. I used about 1/3 c. shredded Parmesan plus a little grated Parmesan in green can)

  • 1/2

    teaspoon salt

  • Pinch garlic salt

  • 1/4

    teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1/8

    teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

  • 8

    slices thick-cut bacon, cooked

  • Black pepper for the bacon, to taste

  • 4

    semi-thick slices leftover oven-roasted turkey breast, or Deli cold cut roasted turkey breast (about 3/4 pound, sliced 1/8" to 1/4" thick)

  • 4

    thick slices diagonal-sliced Deli French or Italian bread, crusts removed

  • 3 - 4

    ripe Roma tomatoes (or other type tomato), sliced crosswise then dried on a paper towel

  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

  • Paprika for garnish, optional

  • Chopped fresh or dried parsley for garnish, optional

Directions

Sprinkle a little black pepper over the bacon then cook by desired method then set aside to drain on paper towels. (I baked it in a 375° oven for 20-25 minutes.) Preheat oven 450° F. In a 2-quart saucepan that has 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, and cook until it thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese, salt, garlic salt, white pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cover saucepan and keep warm. Lightly toast the bread slices on a baking sheet in the hot oven. (Both sides need to be lightly toasted). Place an oven rack 5-6 inches away from the broiling heating element, then set oven to BROIL. In a large ovenproof dish, arrange toasted bread slices in the bottom. then layer with sliced turkey, a little cheese sauce, tomato slices, a little salt and pepper, and enough sauce to cover, allowing some of it to run over the edges. Place the sandwiches under broiler (with door ajar) and cook until sauce bubbles and begins to brown slightly -- 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese and paprika then criss-cross 2 strips of bacon over the top of each. Garnish center with a little more Parmesan and parsley and serve immediately. ((NOTE: I used one diagonal-cut slice of French bread for this sandwich. (You may need to trim the slice of turkey so that it's not larger than the slice of bread.) For ease in eating, instead of whole strips of bacon, it can be roughly chopped or crumbled over top.))

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