Recipe: Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich

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A Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich (sometimes known as a Louisville Hot Brown) is an American hot sandwich originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, by Fred K. Schmidt in 1926. It is a variation of traditional Welsh rarebit and was one of two signature sandwiches created by chefs at the Brown Hotel shortly after its founding in 1923. It was created to serve as an alternative to ham and egg late-night suppers.

The Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich of turkey and bacon covered in Mornay sauce and baked or broiled until the bread is crisp and the sauce begins to brown. Many Hot Browns also include ham with the turkey, and either pimentos or tomatoes over the sauce, and imitation Hot Browns sometimes substitute a commercial cheese sauce instead of the Mornay. Other common alternatives include using cheddar or American cheese for the sauce. Alternatives for garnishes include tomatoes, mushroom slices, and, very rarely, canned peaches.

When Fred K. Schmidt created the Hot Brown, its sliced roast turkey was a rarity, as turkey was usually reserved for holiday feasts. The original Hot Brown included the sliced turkey on an open-faced white toast sandwich, with Mornay sauce covering it, with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, completed by being oven-broiled until bubbly.

Pimento and bacon strips were then added to it. After its debut, it quickly became the choice of ninety-five percent of the customers to the Brown Hotel’s restaurant.
The dish is a local specialty and favorite of the Louisville area, and is popular throughout Kentucky.

For the Kentucky Derby Day on May 5, try making your family and friends Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches to enjoy after watching the race on television! It will make you feel like a winner!


Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich


·         1/2 cup butter

·         1/2 cup all-purpose flour

·         3 cups milk

·         6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

·         1 egg, beaten

·         2 tablespoons heavy cream

·         Salt and pepper to taste

·         2 pounds sliced roasted turkey

·         1 tomato, thinly sliced

·         8 slices white bread, toasted

·         1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

·         8 slices crispy bacon


1.      Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a whisk or fork, and continue to cook and stir until the mixture begins to brown slightly. Gradually whisk in the milk so that no lumps form;  then bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Mix in six tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, and then stir in the beaten egg to thicken the mixture. Do not allow the sauce to boil once the egg has been mixed in. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the cream.

2.      Preheat the oven’s broiler. For each hot brown sandwich, place two slices of toast into the bottom of an individual-sized casserole dish. Cover the toast with a liberal amount of roasted turkey and tomato slices. Spoon sauce over the top of each one and sprinkle with some of the remaining Parmesan cheese.

3.      Place the dishes under the broiler and cook until the top is speckled brown, about five minutes. Remove the dishes from the broiler, and arrange two slices of bacon in a cross shape on top of each sandwich. Serve immediately.










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