As I joked about in the intro, for something to be called a “Hot Brown,” and still become so wildly popular, is a true testament to just how amazingly delicious this really is.
Invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, to help late night partygoers keep going, this hot turkey gratin may be my all-time favorite, fork and knife sandwich.
And for something that seems so decadent, I don’t actually find it to be all that heavy of a meal. Of course, that could be the bourbon talking. I guess you could use milk instead of cream to lighten this up, but unless you’re going to start eating these several times a week, I think you should stick to the original formula.
I’m sure this would be okay with some thickly sliced turkey from the deli, but roasting your own is pretty easy, and you can use the leftovers for a few less extravagant sandwiches. Either way, I really do hope you give this Kentucky classic a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for the sauce (enough for 4 small or 2 giant portions):
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for grating on top
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne to taste
For the turkey (enough for 4 portions): 1 teaspoon oil or butter to grease baking dish
2 pound boneless turkey breast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence, or other dried/fresh herbs of your choice
– Roast at 350 F. to an internal temp of 148 F.
For each Hot Brown:
2 pieces white bread, toasted
6 ounces roast turkey breast (3 thick slices)
3 slices of tomato
enough prepared cheese sauce to cover
grated Pecorino Romano for the top
paprika or cayenne for the top
2 slices bacon, precooked
chopped Italian parsley
– Finish under a low broiler, or in 475 F. oven until the sauce is bubbly and browned, and the bacon is cooked. To cheat, you can cook bacon crisp separately, and just top the finished dish, but I think it tastes better if you brown with the bacon on top.