Thursday, May 3, 2012

ChezCindy: Kentucky Derby Hot Browns

When I realized the Kentucky Derby runs this weekend, my thoughts turned to this famous sandwich that originated in Kentucky; Hot Browns.  I generally associate all events, regardless of what they are, with food.  It just makes life more fun, and delicious.  (This weekend is also Cinco de Mayo.  Can you imagine my conflict?  Mexican fare vs Derby food)   

This famous Kentucky sandwich was created in Louisville's Brown Hotel, by Chef Fred K. Schmidt, in 1926.  It is most commonly served open-face, but has also been made into a casserole using the same ingredients.  Turkey, bacon, cheese, toasted bread and tomatoes are the key ingredients to a Hot Brown. 

What makes this sandwich really stand out is to use real oven-roasted turkey breast.  (Remember this at Thanksgiving for turkey left-overs.)  Today, I just used deli sliced turkey because that is what I had.  I prepared a quick white sauce with cheese, toasted the bread, and browned the layered sandwich under the broiler.  The sandwich is hearty and can be served as dinner, lunch or brunch. 

Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich
Roast turkey breast
Crisp cooked bacon
Sliced white bread
Tomatoes, sliced
White cheddar cheese, shredded
White sauce with cheese

Prepare a basic white sauce, add cheese.  Toast 2 slices of bread for each sandwich.  Preheat broiler.

Place the toasted bread on a baking tray.  Top each slice of bread with 2 - 3 slices of turkey breast.  Ladle 2-3 tablespoons of cheese sauce over the turkey, top with shredded cheese.  Place the baking tray directly under the broiler heat until the cheese sauce starts to bubble.  Carefully remove the tray from the oven.  Place 2 slices of tomatoes onto the cheese for each slice of bread.  Sprinkle a bit more cheese onto the tomatoes.  Place the tray back under the broiler, continue broiling until the tomatoes are warmed and the cheese is fully melted and somewhat browned.  Remove from the oven, top with the crisp bacon. 

White Sauce with Cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of white pepper

Melt butter over medium heat in a medium sauce pan.  Whisk in the flour; cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk, bring to a boil whisking continuously.  The sauce will thicken after 4-5 minutes.  Whisk in the cheese, stir until melted.  Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. 

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