"Reclaiming Homemade in a Small Space"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jenny and the Giant Turkey - Chapter Four - Kentucky Hot Browns

Okay, you've eaten about a fourth of your roasted or smoked turkey, made some soup and possibly had some sliced turkey for sandwiches.  What's next?  How can we extend the life of these leftovers and keep them interesting?  Enter the Kentucky Hot Brown.

I will admit, I hadn't heard of this open-faced sandwich until I heard Bobby Flay do an episode of "Throwdown" where the subject was the hot brown.  Sandwiches aren't something we do on a regular basis as a main meal, but these are really good.  The first time I made them, my kids weren't so sure, but once they dug in, a conversation like this took place.  "So, is this meal better than pizza?"  "Yeah, I think so..."  "Mom, can you make these again sometime?"  "This is so good!"   When I made them a second time, Brandon asked what we were having for dinner.  When I told him Kentucky hot browns, he immediately started yelling so his siblings could hear, "WE'RE HAVING HOT BROWNS!"  ....over and over....  I actually had to tell him to quit yelling.

You might be in the dark about what a Kentucky hot brown is.  It is an open-faced sandwich, with slices of roasted turkey (usually white meat) covered in a Mornay sauce, a few pieces bacon and broiled until browned and bubbly.  It is then topped with a slice of tomato.  I found a recipe in Southern Living Magazine for "Lightened Hot Browns" several months after I saw the episode of "Throwdown".  A mornay sauce is typically full of calories.  My recipe cuts down a little bit on the calories of this rich food.  It uses Parmesan cheese only instead of the Gruyere or Swiss and Parmesan.

Kentucky Hot Browns:
2 T. butter
1 1/2 T. flour
1 c. skim milk
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
6 slices of bread
2 or 3 oz. of sliced white meat turkey for each slice of bread
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
one large slicing tomato, sliced

For the Mornay sauce: 
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour, stir with a wire whisk and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, just to get rid of that raw flour taste.  At first, it may seem a bit "clumpy", but as it cooks, it will smooth out.  I also like my sauce to take on a deep yellow color, but not brown.

Now, it time to add your milk.  Do this slowly and whisk vigorously, keeping the whisk in contact with the bottom of the pan.
It is time to add the parmesan cheese and stir well.  After the cheese melts, remove from heat.

Adjust seasoning, if needed.  If you feel like the sauce is really thick, feel free to add more milk.  Now it is time to assemble the sandwiches.  Set your oven to broil.  Place your slices of bread on a cookie sheet and add the 2 to 3 oz. of sliced turkey.
Add about 1/4 c. of parmesan mornay sauce over each sandwich. 
Place 6 inches under the broiler and broil until bubbly and slightly brown.
 Take the equivalent of one slice of bacon and place it on each sandwhich.
Then top with a slice of tomato.  That is it, sooooo yummy.  Fast, easy and a great way to use up leftover turkey.  You could also use deli roast turkey as well. 


  1. I've heard of these, but never had one. It sounds so good!

  2. They ARE really good and so easy to make.