May 05, 2016
The Kentucky Hot Brown is an open faced sandwich created in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky by Chef Fred Schmidt. It consists of toast, turkey, bacon, tomato and a Mornay sauce. It was created as an alternative to the traditional ham and eggs the hotel would serve its late night patrons who were hungry after dancing into the wee hours of the morning.
We will be serving it at numerous catering events this Saturday at Kentucky Derby parties around the bay, both as a passed hors d’oeuvre, and in casserole form. When we served them at Bailey’s Restaurant they were always a HUGE hit.
We make ours with fresh baked turkey, our own candied bacon, topped with heirloom tomatoes and yummy Mornay sauce made with rich gruyere cheese. It is a spectacular dish year round, but especially this weekend honoring the most famous race of them all.
- Pepperidge Farm bread or any hearty thick sliced white bread (toasted) – cut crust off
- Fresh baked turkey breast or a high quality sliced deli turkey
- Sliced heirloom tomatoes
- Candied bacon
- Mornay sauce
- Gruyere cheese for the sauce and extra to top
My preference for this sandwich is always fresh baked turkey. You can buy turkey breast and bake it off covered (butter, salt and pepper) in a 325 degree oven until done. Or Sam’s and Costco sell a fried turkey breast (or even pre-cooked sliced turkey breast) that is good as well. Last resort is deli turkey. It’s ok to use. I prefer the sliced turkey breast from either Wright’s Gourmet (yes they sell it sliced and it beats all others), or Boars Head from Publix.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
Melt butter in medium size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook whisking constantly until the flour roux is pale yellow…do not brown. Slowly whisk in milk and stir until the sauce thickens. Once the sauce thickens, add remaining ingredients on low heat. Cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
- Thick sliced Applewood smoked bacon (or your favorite kind of thick sliced bacon)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar for each slice of bacon
- Light sprinkling of cayenne pepper
On a sheet pan with bacon side-by-side, press brown sugar into each slice. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Bake at 350 until crispy. I line my sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up, or use a baking rack that fits inside the sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. This is the best method for it helps eliminate greasy bacon.
Thick slice heirloom, beefsteak, or any other high quality tomato you prefer. Once sliced, place on a medium hot non-stick skillet brushed with butter for approximately 10 seconds on each side – just long enough to heat it up slightly.
Removed crust from bread and toast. Top with warm or room temperature sliced turkey, sliced tomato, hot Mornay sauce, 2 slices bacon crisscrossed, and grated Gruyere piled in the middle. Broil until browned. Serve hot.
For Passed Hors d’oeuvers: Slice crust-less Pepperidge Farm bread in quarters. Toast. Top with room temperature or warm turkey (deli is fine), a spoonful of hot Mornay sauce, a 1” square candied bacon, one half cherry or grape tomato. Sprinkle with grated Gruyere cheese and broil until melted. Serve hot.
Hot Browns For A Crowd: This is a real crowd pleasure. Butter a casserole dish. Line with toasted crust-less bread, top with turkey, tomato, candied bacon, Mornay sauce (to completely cover), and lots of grated Gruyere cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until it is bubbly golden brown. Serve hot.