Here’s How to Make a Homemade Kentucky Hot Brown [Recipe]
Earlier this week, I shared that I planned to make homemade Kentucky Hot Browns for dinner on Inauguration Day. In case you're not familiar, the Hot Brown was created way back in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville. Since that time, there have been many variations and restaurants across the state serve their versions of the Hot Brown. One my local favorites here in Owensboro? The Hot Brown at the Briarpatch. DELICIOUS!
Well, your boy Benefield makes them at home too. I was talking to my buddy Chad Gesser Wednesday night as I was cooking. He asked, "What are you doing?" I said, "I'm making homemade Hot Browns." He said, "Really?" I said, "Heck yeah!" When they were finished, I sent Chad this photo!
He replied, "D%@*&, Dude!" LOL! And he's right. These things are awesome. So, I have decided to share my recipe with you. I actually have several recipes that I go back and forth using, but I wanted to share one with you that is served with a rich Mornay sauce. Here goes . . .
CHAD'S KENTUCKY HOT BROWN
1 piece of toast per sandwich
1/2 pound sandwich-sliced turkey (from your favorite grocery deli)
Thinly sliced red tomatoes
Slices of precooked bacon
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of heavy cream
A pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Pinch of paprika
Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
1) The first thing you're going to do is cook your bacon. I use sugar-cured bacon from Hillview Farms Meats in Owensboro. It's literally my favorite bacon EVER! Pro cooking tip. Lay it out on a baking sheet. Do NOT preheat the oven. Place the pan of bacon in the oven, then turn the heat on and set it at 400 degrees. Set a timer for 25 minutes and leave it. 25 to 30 minutes later, that bacon will be cooked to absolute crisp perfection.
2) Build your sandwiches. Here's what I do. I use a separate baking dish for each Hot Brown. By the way, lightly grease the bottom of each dish. I use a little butter because I loathe cooking sprays. Now, layer your sandwiches. Use one slice of bread for the base of each sandwich. I always toast my bread before I start to piece the sandwich together. I feel like it gives the sandwich a little extra crunch even after it bakes. On top to the bread, layer about 1/4 lb of turkey slices. I use about two to three hearty slices for each sandwich. The sandwich is also going to get topped with tomato slices and bacon. But hold that thought for just a moment. It's time to make the sauce!
3) Over medium heat, you're going to melt the 1/2 stick of butter. When it's melted, whisk in the 1/4 cup of flour. The mixture is going to form a roux which you are going to cook for about two minutes, over medium-low heat, whisking frequently. Then, you're going to whisk in 1 cup milk (I always use skim, though with this recipe there really is no combating the calories) and 1 cup of heavy cream. Cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. Add and stir in a pinch of nutmeg, then add some salt and pepper to taste. Now, it's magic time!
4) Pour a big ladle full of sauce over each sandwich. How you layer them is really up to you. You can top your turkey with your tomatoes and bacon, then top it off with sauce. Or you can pour the sauce over the tomatoes and turkey then put the bacon on top. It's entirely up to you and how you want your sandwich to look. It's going to taste great no matter how it looks.
5) That oven should still be sitting at 400 degrees because you cooked your bacon. Throw those sandwiches in and bake them until they're bubbly. Another pro tip: When they're just about finished, I'll flip the oven from bake to broil and let them bubble up and brown just a touch before removing them to serve.
6) Top those sandwiches with a sprinkle of paprika, a little extra Parmesan cheese for good measure and a few leaves of fresh parsley.
And, finally, ENJOY your homemade Kentucky Hot Brown!