What is a Hot Brown?
The Hot Brown is a dish made world famous by Chef Fred Schmidt at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. He noticed that party goers were needing a pick-me-up after dancing ’til dawn and created this incredibly tasty dish that has spread across the globe.
This is a perfect dish to make using leftover Thanksgiving turkey, especially if you’re getting tired of plain ol’ sandwiches. Since, like many of you, we had a very small Thanksgiving this year but still had a ton of food, this was a great way to put more of it to good use.
I made a couple of alterations to the original recipe. In the classic version, the Mornay sauce calls for using a cup of heavy cream and a cup of whole milk. Instead, I used 2 cups of skim milk because I had some in my fridge and I wanted to see if I could tone down the heaviness and richness of the sauce. I was afraid that the sauce wouldn’t thicken up properly when reducing the fat content by so much, but my fears were unfounded. My sauce was very thick, luscious, and delicious. No doubt the classic version is decadent with the use of heavy cream, but I didn’t feel like we were missing anything at all by making this substitution.
The second alteration I made was to use thick slices of Italian bread instead of Texas Toast, and I left the crusts on instead of cutting them off. I think you could really use any kind of bread base in this recipe and it’d be yummy. I left the crusts on because I like those crunchy bits!
I made a couple of the toasts more kid-friendly (at least to my own kids) and left off the tomato slices. Then I cut the finished product into smaller bites to make it easier for them to eat.
Whatever personal twists you put on your Hot Browns, it’s a delicious combination of flavors and is simple to prepare. Enjoy!
|Kentucky Hot Browns|| |
- 2 TBS unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low fat milk
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- ½ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Leftover sliced turkey, white or dark meat
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- 4-5 thick slices of Italian bread
- 4-5 slices of bacon, cooked crispy
- Smoked paprika and parsley, for garnish
- First, make the sauce. In a 2-quart pan, melt the butter on medium-low heat and whisk in the flour until a paste forms. Add the milk and increase the heat to medium, whisking to remove any lumps. When the sauce is simmering, remove from heat and stir in the cheese until melted and smooth. Add the pinch of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 350F. On a baking sheet, place the slices of bread and top with turkey. Layer slices of tomato on top of the turkey and then pour the sauce over each one. Top with extra sprinkle of cheese and then bake for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, top with bacon and, if desired, extra cheese, smoked paprika, and parsley. Serve warm.
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