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Monday, August 25, 2008

The Legendary "Hot Brown" of Louisville, Kentucky

So I went to Louisville, Kentucky for a wedding this weekend and happened to learn about a traditional Louisville dish called “Hot Brown.” The dish was actually created the chefs at the Brown Hotel—the Hotel that I was indeed staying at! Hot Brown is an opened faced turkey sandwich with a creamy sauce. There is a more specific recipe that I will give, but the reason that I am being vague is because it is now made in a variety of ways. Here is the actual recipe from The Brown Hotel’s website itself:

The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe

4 oz. ButterFlour to make a Roux (about 6 tablespoons)
3 - 3 1/2 cups Milk
1 Beaten Egg
6 tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 oz. Whipped Cream (optional)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Slices of Roast Turkey
8-12 Slices of Toast (may be trimmed)
Extra Parmesan for Topping
8-12 Strips of Fried Bacon

Melt butter and add enough flour to make a reasonably thick roux (enough to absorb all of the butter). Add milk and Parmesan cheese. Add egg to thicken sauce, but do not allow sauce to boil. Remove from heat. Fold in whipped cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place two slices of toast on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with a liberal amount of turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey and toast. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of bacon on top, and serve immediately.

I tried it at a restaurant across the street from the hotel (the horror!) before I knew about the legend, unfortunately. This particular hot brown was made with an alfredo sauce and had tomatoes. I don’t remember if it had bacon as well. I just remembered the extreme cheesiness and sauciness of it all. Overall, it was superb comfort food. It was so exciting to taste a bit of local food history!

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