Find your favorite hat and celebrate the Derby with this southern treat, sure to please even the most discerning spectator. A lightened up version of the The Brown Hotel’s Hot Brown recipe, this open-faced sandwich still has all the flavor of the original.
The Kentucky Derby is one of the events I want to experience once in my life. The hats, the horses, the fanfare…..the food. I want to go. I want to wear a gigantic hat so big it could be mistaken for a helipad. I want to drink a mint julep and bet big on the underdog. I want to people watch and hobnob and stuff my face with pimento cheese. It’s on my bucket list, I just hope it happens before I have to hobble around with my walker….before I’m 90. I want to go when I still have my own teeth so I can enjoy all the amazing food I get to read all about.
But in the meantime, I’ll hang out in my living room with my beach hat and eat a vat of Pimento Cheese, Bourbon Butter Cake and a Kentucky Hot Brown. I’ll pretend I’m there hanging with Hugh Heffner (Does he even GO to the Derby?) betting on a horse and winning big money. Then I’ll charter a jet to fly home. See…I dream as big as my bets. As big as this sandwich….which is loaded with a homemade cheese sauce. CHEESE SAUCE! Everything’s better with cheese sauce, don’t ya think?
If you’re having a Derby party this year, you have to make this sandwich. You could make them on a baking sheet to help with some time management instead of using individual baking dishes. You’ll just have to scoop up some of the extra sauce when you serve them. AND if you’re having a Derby party, check out my Pinterest board for all things Derby! I pinned some great party ideas, hats and recipes that you’ll love.
This recipe is adapted from the original Brown Hotel sandwich but I replaced the heavy cream with half and half. I also used a smidge less butter because it made me feel like I was being a little healthier. This is not a healthed up sandwich….just a little lighter than the original because you don’t NEED all the calories when you can still have ALL the flavor.
Kentucky Hot Brown
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Kosher Salt and pepper
- 1 lb thick sliced roasted turkey breast
- 4 slices of Texas toast (thick slices of bread, toasted with crusts trimmed)
- 4 slices of cooked bacon
- 1 Roma tomato, cut into slices
- In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and slowly whisk in the flour until a thick paste or roux forms. Continue to cook roux for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Add the half and half to the pan and whisk until smooth. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and slowly stir in the cheese until the sauce is smooth. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
- For each sandwich, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with half the turkey. Top with two slices of Roma tomato and cover with half of the sauce. Sprinkle the top with additional cheese and place under a broiler until the cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and top with two pieces of crispy bacon. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.