Kentucky Hot Brown Recipe


What is a hot brown? It’s the ultimate comfort food – so rich that you should only make it once a year. It’s a deliciously decadent way to serve leftover turkey. Essentially, it’s an open-faced sandwich that you brown under the broiler. How can you go wrong with a cheese sauce, crispy bacon, cool tomato, turkey – all on toast?

The hot brown is a KY tradition which originated in Louisville at the Brown Hotel. It’s perfect to make for lunch on the day after Thanksgiving (especially if you’ve scheduled a long walk in the morning.) This year, I planned ahead to make it easier to assemble. When I made bread for stuffing, I saved some for toast. Our winter market miraculously still had tomatoes, and we had just smoked some homemade bacon. Yum.

sauce (more than enough for six hot browns)-

8 tbls. butter (Yes, that’s a whole stick of butter.)
1/2 c. flour
3 cups whole milk
1 egg
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
salt, white pepper

roasted turkey sliced
crispy bacon

  1. Cook your bacon. (We like to bake it at 400F on a foil covered baking sheet until crispy.) Prepare the toast. Cut into triangles and place in the bottom of a small, single portion sized baking dish. Slice your turkey and lay a few pieces on top of the toast. Lay a slice or two of bacon on top of the turkey. Slice the tomato thinly and add to top. Set aside while you prepare sauce.
  2. Over low to medium heat, melt butter in a large skillet. Whisk in the flour and allow this roux to absorb all of the butter.
  3. Whisk in milk until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in cheese.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg gently. Whisk into the sauce. (Egg is safe to eat at 145F, so if your sauce is showing some small bubbles, you’re hot enough. Don’t allow it to boil.)
  5. Pour the sauce over the hot brown. (If your sauce has waited a little while and become too thick, whisk in a little extra milk at the last minute.) Place each portion under the broiler until the top is brown.

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