Kentucky Hot Brown

It’s Kentucky Derby Day! This year I decided to prepare the decadent Kentucky Hot Brown open-faced sandwich as a late lunch/early dinner while we enjoy the Churchill Downs race – the first in the great race for the Triple Crown each year. This year marks the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, and the first result upset in the history of the Race.

The Hot Brown actually has its own history. Still served today at the historic Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, the Hot Brown was invented in the 1920’s for the 1200 guests that frequented their nightly dancing at the hotel. The chef wanted something more glamorous to serve the tired dancers instead of just ham and eggs. The original recipe is shared by the Brown Hotel. The original recipe and history can be found at https://www.brownhotel.com/dining/hot-brown

I stick close to the original recipe, but make a few changes. Not a fan of Texas Toast, I changed the bread to Brioche. I also make a very traditional Mornay Sauce which is made with Gruyere vs. the Pecorino called for by the Brown Hotel. I omit the nutmeg as I have a food intolerance to it – even in small quantities. You, however, can add it back if you prefer its distinct flavor in this creamy cheese sauce.

Ingredients

For the Mornay Sauce
2 1/2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
8 oz. Heavy Cream
8 oz. Whole Milk
2 oz. Gruyere Cheese, grated (plus more for garnishing)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
Pinch of Ground Nutmeg (optional, I omit)

For the Sandwich
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast, Sliced https://betwixtandcuisine.com/2019/05/04/herb-roasted-turkey-breast/
4 Slices of Brioche Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 Slices of Crispy Bacon
2 Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
Paprika
Parsley

Instructions

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 heavy cream and whole milk 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 Gruyere cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper. Optionally, add nutmeg.

Cut the crusts off the brioch toast. For each sandwich, keep one slice of toast whole, and cut the other in half diagonally to make toast points. to assemble place a whole slice of brioche toast in an oven safe dish. Add desired turkey slices. Original recipes suggests about 7 oz. Take the two halves of tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of the turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Gruyere cheese. Place the 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.

Rueben Sandwiches with Spicy Russian Dressing

One of the best things about a corned beef and cabbage dinner is the left overs. Corned beef is like the Thanksgiving turkey of late winter; if you cook a larger cut of brisket, you may use it in a variety of leftovers. One of my favorites is a classic Rueben Sandwich with homemade Russian dressing. I love the spicy sweetness paired with the briny sauerkraut, melted swiss cheese, and a stack of thin sliced corned beef on a dark rye bread. I put a modern twist on the traditional dressing with the addition of a generous dose of Siracha hot sauce.

Ingredients

For the Russian Dressing
2 Tablespoons grated onion
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Ketchup
4 teaspoons of prepared horseradish - the fresher the better.
1-2 teaspoons of Siracha hot sauce (more or less to your taste)
1 - 2 teaspoons of Worchestershire sauce (more or less to your taste)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
Dash of sea salt or pink salt

For each sandwich

2 Slices Dark Rye Bread (can use a light rye or pumpernickle if preferred)
2 Slices Swiss Cheese
1/2 Cup of Sauerkraut, drained and most of moisture pressed out
Sliced Cooked Corned Beef Brisket - Amount to your preference.
Russian Dressing
Butter

Instructions

  1. Make Russian Dressing
    • Transfer onion paste to a small bowl along with mayonnaise, ketchup and horseradish.
    • Add 1 teaspoon of siracha, 1 teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce and the paprika.
    • Taste and add more siracha or Worchestershire.
    • Finish by salting to taste.
  2. Assemble Sandwiches
    • Spread one slice of bread with butter and place butter down in a 8-10 inch skillet.
    • Spread bread with a teaspoon (or more) of Russian Dressing.
    • Place two slices of Swiss Cheese ontop of the dressing.
    • Add drained and pressed Sauerkraut.
    • Add desired amount of sliced corned beef.
    • Spread second slice of bread with another generous teaspoon of Russian Dressing.
    • Place bread, dressing side down on top of corned beef.
    • Butter top side of bread.
    • Grill in skillet over medium heat, flipping the bread when desired level of toasting occurs.
  3. Serve with additional dressing on the side.

Note: Substitute Thousand Island Dressing for the Russian Dressing for a sweeter sandwich if preferred.