Kentucky Derby Feedbag

7 May

It is to our credit that we have managed to resist buying honey brown earthenware dishes (round, flat bottomed with a handle). Oh, yes, we’ve seen them on our vintage treasure hunts.

And we know damn well what they’re intended for: beautiful, bubbling Hot Brown sandwiches.

Thanks to the delightful 2002 PBS documentary, Sandwiches That You Will Like, by Rick Sebak of WQED, we were quickly seduced by the romantic lore of this calorie-bomb.

In the 1920s, The Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests for its dinner dance. In the wee hours, booze-soaked, weary guests would stagger to the restaurant for pre-dawn eats. Bored with traditional ham and eggs, Chef Fred Schmidt created this divine mess.

We hold the Hot Brown in high esteem, in keeping with post-midnight fried chicken and waffles, chicken hash with hollandaise, and midnight cheese toasts (white wine soaked ham and cheese).

Next time you’re facing Thanksgiving leftovers, you can add Hot Browns to your repertoire. But we’re also thinking what a great New Year’s Eve snack this would make in miniature. Washed down with some bubbly, of course.

For purists, the hotel’s printable recipe is at bottom. However, the New York Times recommends stirring 1/3 cup grated cheddar into one cup of mornay sauce just before assembling.

LOUISVILLE HOT BROWN
Recipe from New York Times
(Makes four sandwiches)

1 cup warm cream sauce (use any standard recipe)
1/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese
4 slices baked turkey, about 1/2 pound
4 slices toast, crusts removed
8 strips bacon, crisply cooked
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler.

Add grated Cheddar to cream sauce and stir to melt; keep warm.

Place slices of turkey on the toast. Cover each with 1/4 cup sauce.

Place 2 strips of bacon on each sandwich.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan on top of each sandwich; place sandwiches on ovenproof dish and place under broiler

Broil until bubbly and speckled brown.

LEGENDARY HOT BROWN
Recipe courtesy Brown Hotel
(Makes Two Hot Browns):
• 2 oz. Whole Butter
• 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
• 1 Qt. Heavy Cream
• 1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
• Salt & Pepper to Taste
• 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
• 2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
• 4 slices of Crispy Bacon
• 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
• Paprika, Parsley
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 whipping cream 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 Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place 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.

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