A Hot Brown Sandwich for the Kentucky Derby

A Hot Brown Sandwich for the Kentucky Derby

The Brown Hotel

The most exciting two minutes in sports is happening this weekend — and how will you be satisfying your appetite as you place your bets?

The Hot Brown — an open-faced sandwich featuring crispy bacon, roasted turkey and rich Mornay sauce on thick Texas toast — made its debut at the Brown Hotel in Louisville during the 1920s when over 1,200 guests attending a dinner dance were looking for something to eat aside from the usual ham and eggs.

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It was then that Chef Fred Schmidt created the Hot Brown, which has since become a Kentucky Derby tradition, along with mint juleps and of course, Derby pie.

While there are now several variations of the sandwich, this traditional recipe comes straight from the source. Enjoy!

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A Hot Brown Sandwich for the Kentucky Derby

Two Hot Browns
  • 2 oz. whole butter
  • 2 oz. all purpose flour
  • 16 oz. heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • Salt and 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
  1. 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.
  2. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey.
  5. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast.
  6. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese.
  7. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble.
  8. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.