There are some foods that Kentucky is famous for. From mint juleps at the Derby to anything with Kentucky bourbon, to the amazing hot brown. The recipe below is a lot easier to make than you might imagine and will impress even the most discerning palate.
History of the Kentucky Hot Brown
Have you heard of the hot brown? It is also called the Kentucky hot brown in some places. It is a gooey mess of an open-faced sandwich that will delight your taste buds. It meshes a thick, crisp bread topped with turkey, bacon and a rich cheese sauce. Most restaurants choose a Mornay sauce, which is whitish, but some places use cheddar or other alternatives. Some versions include a tomato slice on top.
The sandwich as been around since 1926 and was first served by Fred Schmidt at the Louisville, Kentucky Brown Hotel. According to the Brown Hotel website, in the 20s, the hotel was bustling with dinner guests anxious to attend a dinner dance. It attracted about 1,200 guests a night. Chef Schmidt recognized that these guests wanted to try something a bit more culinary than simply ham and eggs, so he created the hot brown, which was a variation of Welsh rarebit.
The sandwich is still served at the Brown Hotel today and they even have the original recipe listed on the website if you want to try mixing up a portion or two at home. Of course, if you’re in the Louisville area, go ahead and pop into the hotel and try out their variation for yourself. You’ll be tasting a bit of history.
If you want a recipe that is a bit more simple (because you know I’m about cooking things as easily and quickly as possible, but still making them delicious), try my hot brown variation below.
- Loaf of precooked bread from deli/bakery
- Thick slices of roasted turkey
- Cheddar or white cheddar cheese slices
- Precooked bacon slices
- 1 to mato
- Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the bread into thick slices at least an inch thick. Some variations of this recipe call for large canned biscuits, but I prefer the taste of bread.
Very lightly butter both sides of the bread and grill each side until browned and crispy
Place bread on baking sheet and layer with two slices of turkey and cheese (traditional hot browns have a LOT of cheese, but you can create to your own taste).
Place in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until cheese gets bubbly and starts to brown slightly.
While the dish is cooking in the oven, wrap the precooked bacon in several layers of paper towels and nuke for one minute to make it crispier.
Remove hot browns from oven and top with tomato slices and two strips of bacon each. You can also crumble bacon and dice tomatoes for a different look.
That’s it. You’ll be serving a somewhat traditional hot brown. of course, you can get a bit more advanced over time by baking your own bread and creating a cheese sauce on your stove top. You could also cook your own bacon. I’m just lazy and I like to save time when I can. If something tastes nearly as good and is easier to throw together, that’s the way I go.
I’ve even been thinking about buying the jarred cheddar cheese sauce in the past aisle and trying that for the topping.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Creative Commons