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.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

For a quick dinner main, or to slice for sandwiches this is my go-to. It’s very simple and the turkey breast can be roasted while you do other things. Add some potatoes, carrots and onions to the roasting pan and you have a one pan dinner.

This is a great way to get a high quality, low-fat and low-sodium protein. It works well for Paleo and Keto diets. Leftovers are great for salads, wraps and sandwiches.

You may substitute any combination of herbs to customize this recipe to your preferences. Quantities are suggestions and you can use more or less of anything as you choose. This recipe is loosely constructed and very forgiving. The seasonings chosen below will result in a more Thanksgiving style turkey flavor. See notes for other flavor combination suggestions.

Ingredients

1 2-2.5 lb. Fresh turkey breast, skin on
2 Tablespoons fresh Sage leaves, minced (can substitute 1 teaspoon dried)
2 Teaspoons fresh Rosemary leaves (can substitue dried)
2 Tablespoons fresh Parsley, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh Basil, minced (can substitute 1 teaspoon dried)
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper, or Seasoning blend of choice (such as Montreal Chicken, or a Citrus Rub)
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking dish large enough to accomodate the turkey breast with foil, or use a disposable baking pan for easy cleanup.
  3. Place turkey breast, skin side up, in prepared baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper or seasoning blend. Sprinkle with onion powder. Cover with fresh herbs and chopped garlic. Pour lemon juice over.
  4. Add 1/2 water to bottom of pan. This will keep breast moist as it roasts.
  5. Roast for approximately 90 minutes until meat thermometer inserted reaches 165 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Notes:

  • Pan drippings can be used to make a gravy, or if roasting with vegetables can be stirred into vegetables to season them.
  • I typically remove the skin before slicing the turkey for sandwiches and wraps or for tossing in salad.
  • This is a low fat version. To increase fats for Keto diets, coat the turkey with a healthy oil such as avocado, olive, hemp, coconut or grass fed butter before adding seasonings.
  • Other flavor combinations:
    • Asian Style: Substitue fresh ginger, garlic, toasted sesame oil, gluten free tamari, and cilantro for above list of herbs. Use rice wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice, and a small amount of chinese five spice powder in place of seasoning blend if desired.
    • Italian Style: Substitute dried italian Seasoning for the above list of herbs, and use salt and pepper in place of the seasoning blend or rub.