A Louisville legend, the Brown Hotel is beloved by generations of guests for its Georgian-Revival elegance and timeless Southern charm. Opening in 1923, the brown quickly became the city’s business and social center. Some say more business deals were struck in the English Grill than at any office in town.
Drawing over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance, in the wee hours of the morning, guests would grow weary of dancing and make their way to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Sensing their desire for something more glamorous than traditional ham and eggs, Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests’ palates. His unique dish? An open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. The Hot Brown was born!
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast, slice thick
- 4 slices of Texas toast (crusts trimmed)
- 4 slices of bacon
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half
In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined to form a thick paste or roux.
Continue to cook roux for 2 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 nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 oz. turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Pour half of the sauce over the dish, completely covering it. Sprinkle with additional cheese.
Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately. Serves two.
Recipe and Photo courtesy of the Brown Hotel.