During the Roaring 20’s Louisville, Kentucky was happening! During this time period Louisville was a center for manufacturing, bringing in people with disposable income. The downtown thrived during this time period as people liked to eat, drink and dance, think of The Great Gatsby. Famous hotels like The Brown Hotel would host these parties and set up late night restaurants for revelers to wind down and sober up.
As the legend goes, ham and eggs was the popular dish, although people would get bored of it week after week. The now legendary Chef Fred Schmidt had an idea to keep his customers, a new hot mess dish that would match his inebriated customers. He developed an open-faced turkey Sandwich with Mornay sauce smothered all over it. The Maitre d, told the Chef Schmidt it looked a little boring , so the chef put it under the broiler, added bacon and pimentos. The Hot Brown was born.
Aside: what is Mornay sauce?: The mother sauce of a Mornay sauce is a Bechamel, which is a white sauce made with roux of butter, flour milk. The Mornay adds grated cheeses like Gruyere and parmesan.
I dare not consider the amount of calories in this sandwich. One day I plan on visiting the Brown Hotel and dining at the English Grill so i can order this sandwich, made the exact same way it was just under 100 years ago. This is the recipe posted on the Brown Hotel Website (recipe courtesy of www.brownhotel.com
Ingredients (Makes 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 & 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
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 heavy 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.