Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kentucky Hot Brown

Saturday marks the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, and possibly the 50-ish year that people are going to be celebrating with a mint julep in one hand, a fork full of Kentucky Hot Brown in another, while the Derby pie waits anxiously for a hand to free up. I love food holidays.

The Hot Brown is a rich dish steeped in rich history. This open-faced sandwich was developed in the roaring 1920's by Fred Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, and was his answer to the flappers' fourth meal. Tired and hungry from a night of dancing, they would head into the restaurant for a bite to eat. Wanting to provide some variation from the standard egg and ham sandwiches they served, he developed this thing of beauty.

Mornay Sauce
Sliced Tomatoes
Sliced Hot Turkey Breast
Crusty, Toasted Bread

In that order.

It became one of his signature sandwiches and is a beloved part of Kentucky history to this day. It is also the perfect main dish to serve come Derby day.

Kentucky Hot Brown
Yield: 4 Sandwiches
  • 4 slices of toasted Texas Toast, or toasted French or Italian Bread
  • 1 lb. sliced turkey (on the slightly thicker side), warmed
  • 8 slices of roma tomatoes
  • 8 slices of thick-sliced bacon, cooked
  • Mornay sauce (can be made ahead)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Paprika and parsley (optional)
For each sandwich, place one slice of toast on an oven-safe dish. Divide the turkey evenly over the bread.
Take two slices of a Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of each turkey and toast.
Pour enough Mornay sauce to cover the dish. Add a handful of cheddar cheese to the tops.
Place entire dish under a broiler. When the cheese begins to brown and bubble, remove it from the broiler.
Place two pieces of crispy bacon on top of the sandwich. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley (optional).


  1. Yum!!! I think we might do that a night this week instead of the usual eggs bacon and toast...

  2. Btw... love the jam you have pictured! My personal fav... need to get more from Mark....