Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Derby Day Grub - the Hot Brown

Everyone knows the official drink of the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep.  We'll talk more about that later in the week.  But what about some Derby Day grub to provide a nice base for that bourbon you'll be drinking?  One solution, and a pretty awesome one at that, is the Kentucky Hot Brown.

I was visiting a customer on the outskirts of Louisville when they recommended I try this sandwich.  It was created at the Brown Hotel in the 1920's and has been a favorite of many ever since.  Picture a couple pieces of Texas toast piled high with roasted turkey, tomatoes, and bacon, covered in a creamy cheese sauce known as "Mornay sauce". 

Pair all that with an ice cold mint julep and you've got a sweet and savory Derby Day for sure.  Interested in making one for the Derby?  Here is the original recipe, courtesy of the Brown Hotel.

2 oz. whole butter
2 oz. all-purpose flour
1 quart heavy cream
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
Salt & pepper
14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast
2 slices Texas toast (or any thick-sliced toast), crust trimmed
4 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp
2 tomatoes, sliced or halved
Paprika and chopped parsley, for garnish

  1. In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For each hot brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.
Serves 2.

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