Holiday Recipe: Kentucky's 'Hot Brown' makes use of leftover turkey

Post the big dinner, the 'Hot Brown' offers an tasty alternative for leftover turkey.  Instead of bread, I would build it on stuffing, if any is left over!
Photo: KY Hot Brown Sandwich / Todd DeFeo

SMYRNA, Ga., November 26, 2013 — Following the Thanksgiving feast, the age old question is always what to do with the leftover turkey. 

While turkey sandwiches or turkey soup are always a viable option, mix it up this year. Try a twist on Kentucky’s famous Hot Brown sandwich. 

Fred K. Schmidt is credited with creating the delectable sandwich in 1926 at the famous Brown Hotel in Louisville, Ky. According to various sources, the sandwich was created as an alternate to late night ham and egg dinners. 

The open-face sandwich, today a staple on menus across Kentucky, is basic at its core. But, don’t let its seemingly simple recipe be a deterrent, this is one of the tastier sandwich options. 

The sandwich consists of of turkey and bacon piled atop a piece of bread and smothered with Mornay sauce, more or less a Béchamel sauce with cheese. Some versions of the sandwich include ham or tomatoes, but isn’t necessary for the post-Thanksgiving version.

The trickiest part of the recipe is the Mornay sauce, but to make a simplified version only takes about 20 minutes and some patience. While simple, this version lacks nothing in the taste department. 

Start with a cup of whole milk, then add one egg yolk, 2/3 cup of reduced sodium chicken broth, two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Add kosher salt and white pepper to taste, and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens — about 10-12 minutes. 

Next, add two cups of cheese (try Gruyère or Swiss) and continue to mix. Add nutmeg to taste (between a dash and a teaspoon), and mix in a teaspoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of chopped parsley.

Be sure to stir constantly until the sauce thickens — about 8-10 minutes.

To construct the sandwich, start with a piece of white bread (Italian works well). Top with a handful of turkey (or as much as desired), then two strips of bacon (or more, if extra hungry).

Coat liberally with the Mornay sauce, and toss under a broiler for a few minutes to give the sandwich a nice crust.

While this version isn’t an exact recreation of what’s on the menu in most Kentucky restaurants, it’s an easy idea for putting leftover turkey to good use.


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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo jouned The Washington Times Communities in May 2012. He covers travel and Georgia. A marketing professional who never gave up his award-winning journalistic ways, DeFeo revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He also serves as editor of The Travel Trolley.


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