Margarita's International Recipes


The Hot Brown

The Hot Brown

The Hot Brown, a turkey and bacon sandwich in a mornay sauce, is a Kentucky institution. It was born in Louisville's The Brown Hotel in the roaring 20's, as a late-night treat for guests who got hungry after dancing all night. With time, it became associated with the Kentucky Derby and a symbol of Kentucky.

I followed the hotel's recipe to make this sandwich and I felt there was not nearly enough cheese in the sauce - though perhaps I didn't have a strong enough Pecorino Romano cheese. The recipe below doubles the amount in the original recipe, but I might have used even more than that. I can't say that even with a cheesier sauce it as a particularly memorable sandwich. It's really not that different from a turkey, cheese and bacon sandwich, only much messier.


The Hot Brown


  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp Pecorino Romano Cheese, shredded
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 slices Texas toast
  • 1 lb roasted turkey breast, thickly sliced
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced in half
  • paprika, to taste
  • minced parsley, to taste
  • 4 slices cooked bacon


Preheat broiler.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Gradually whisk in the flour until it forms a thick paste. Continue cooking the paste for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in the cream and milk, bring heat up to medium and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and gradually whisk in 1 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese. Continue whisking until the sauce is smooth. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside.

Cut the crusts off the bread slices. Cut two of the slices in two diagonally. Transfer bread to a rimmed baking sheet or oven-safe dish. Place 1/2 lb of turkey breast slices on each of the whole bread slices. Top turkey with 2 slices of tomato. Pour the sauce on top of the tomatoes. Transfer the dish to the broiler and cook until the cheese begins to brown. Remove from the broiler and add the bacon to the sandwiches, in the shape of a cross. Sprinkle with the reamining cheese, paprika and parsley. Transfer to a plate and serve.

Adapted from a recipe at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY.

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