I've been feeling homesick again lately. I haven't been able to take time off from my new job to travel and make my annual summer trip back to Kentucky to see my friends. When we get back to Kentucky, we usually make a point to eat at a couple of our old favorite restaurants where we can enjoy local specialties that you can't get in Chicago.
One favorite dish that we always enjoyed was a good old Kentucky Hot Brown. This dish was created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville Ky in the 1920's to satisfy the appetite of the hotel's many late night dinner-dance guests. It's basically an open faced turkey sandwich with mornay sauce, but it is heavenly! This is definitely on my list of comfort foods!
The original recipe is below. We recently made our own Hot Browns to satisfy our longing for the taste of home. I made some alterations to make the recipe a bit healthier - and it came out just as tasty, I thought. My substitutions are below in red.
The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe
Ingredients (Makes Two Hot Browns):
•2 oz. Whole Butter (I used low fat margarine)
•2 oz. All Purpose Flour
•1 Qt. Heavy Cream (I used fat free cream which makes the sauce take longer to thicken)
•1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish (We used shredded parmesan which we had on hand)
•Salt & Pepper to Taste
•14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
•2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed) (we used whole grain high fiber, low cal bread)
•4 slices of Crispy Bacon (we used center cut bacon, which is lower fat)
•2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in half (We cut into thin slices)
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.
**This recipe made more sauce than we needed. I froze half of it for future use.
What is your favorite comfort food from home, that you can't get anywhere else?