The Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich was created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville in the 1920’s. It is a true Louisville original, an open-face turkey sandwich covered in creamy mornay sauce, and garnished with tomatoes and bacon.
I first tasted a hot brown after my triplets were born. Neighbors and parishioners from our church prepared dinner for our family two to three times per week. One lady arrived with a hot brown casserole. It was decadently delicious, the perfect food for a mother with three newborn babies.
The recipe I am sharing today is inspired by the recipe from the Brown Hotel. Since I did not have any leftover roast turkey I decided to poach turkey tenderloins instead.
This is a perfect recipe for using up left-over turkey at Thanksgiving time.
Poached Turkey Breast
- 20 oz turkey breast tenderloins
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper (to season poaching liquid)
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 oz salted butter
- 1 and 1/2 pints of half and half
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 1 pinch salt (to taste)
- 1 pinch pepper (to taste)
- 4 thick slices white bread
- 1 teaspoon garlic puree
- 2 oz butter
- 2 roma tomatoes sliced
- 8 slices crispy bacon
- 2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1. Poaching The Turkey
If you are lucky enough to be making this dish after Thanksgiving and have plenty of left over turkey, then you can skip this step.
To poach the meat, place the turkey breast tenderloins or a breast in the bottom of a large dutch oven. Add the onion and sliced carrot.
Cover the meat with chicken stock so the stock is at least one inch above the top of the turkey. Season the liquid with salt and pepper.
Turn the heat to high and bring to boiling point. Immediately turn the heat down to low, so that the liquid barely bubbles. Simmer for 30 minutes, then turn the heat off and let the turkey sit in the hot poaching liquid for 10 more minutes.
Remove the turkey breast from the liquid and let sit, tented in aluminum foil, for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting. The juices will run clear when a cooked turkey breast is cut. The internal temperature should be a minimum of 165 degrees when cooked.
2. Making the Texas Toast
I like to make a quick version of Texas Toast for this recipe. I find the frozen variety is just too thick and its shape does not work as well as regularly sliced bread cut into triangles.
First add the garlic puree and butter to a mixing bowl.
Beat it together with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.
Spread the garlic butter on both sides of the bread slices. Toast until golden brown on each side under a hot grill. Cut the crusts off the Texas Toast and cut each slice into quarters.
3. Making the Mornay Sauce:
Next comes the creamy cheese sauce for smothering the cooked turkey. Start by melting 2 oz of butter in a two-quart saucepan. Gradually add the flour and whisk together to form a roux.
Cook this thick paste over medium to low heat for an additional two minutes, stirring constantly.
Whisk 1/3 of the half and half into the roux, whisking vigorously to combine. Gradually add the additional half and half, whisking to avoid lumps. Cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken, stirring all the time.
The original recipe calls for a quart of heavy cream. I substituted half and half and was very happy with the creaminess of my sauce. I also used less half and half since a full quart resulted in a very thin sauce.
Before adding the cheese turn off the heat. Gradually add the grated cheese to the sauce, stirring constantly to melt and combine the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a large skillet over high heat and cook the bacon until crispy. Sorry I forgot to take a photo of my bacon crisping in the pan.
Next assemble the open faced sandwich in four small oven safe dishes. Place the Texas toast quarters along the sides of the dish. Take 4 slices of tomatoes and place them against the toast.
Line the bottom of the dish with sliced turkey.
Pour quarter of the mornay sauce over the turkey for each sandwich. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Place the dish under a broiler and cook until the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden.
Remove the dish from the broiler. Garnish by placing two slices of crispy bacon in an X-shape across the top. Sprinkle with paprika and fresh parsley if desired. Serve immediately.
Here is the printable recipe:
Happy Kentucky Derby Day to all!
Slán agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom