Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Little Bit of Home

Although home is where the sweet husband and Little Guy are I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.  I blogged a few weeks ago about the fun tradition of the Derby and am finally getting around to sharing a great and easy KY recipe.

The Hot Brown was created in 1926 by chef Fred K. Schmidt.  Named for his employer, the Brown Hotel, the Hot Brown quickly because a customer favorite and can now be found on menus everywhere!  The orignial Hot Brown was an open faced sandwich covered with turkey, a Mornay sauce, Parmesean cheese, bacon and pimentos.  Many variations exist today and you can put your own spin on the sandwich based on your like or dislike of certain ingredients.

My Great-Aunt Annette gave me this fabulous KY cookbook a few years ago and I love getting traditional Bluegrass recipes from it.  Here is the recipe for "Compton's Mini Hot Browns."

Compton's Mini Hot Browns

3 T margarine
3 T flour
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped turkey breast
8 sliced bacon, cooked & crumbled
20 thin slices white bread
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

First you are going to make a Bechamel sauce.  What? You don't know what a Bechamel is?  I bet you do!  This sauce is simply a mixture of milk into a roux.  Roux?  Equal parts butter and flour.  You've probably done it a million times but maybe never known the "technical"term for it.  It is nice to know the terms in case you come across them in another recipe.  I used to get nervous when I'd see fancy words in recipes but knowing how simple the process can be helps!

Melt your margarine in a medium saucepan.  Stir in your flour and then add the grated Cheddar cheese.  Stir stir stir.  You basically have to stir throughout this entire process so make sure you don't have too much going on in the kitchen!  Slowly add your milk (I usually add about 1/4 cup at a time).  Make sure your saucepan is on medium heat and keep on stirring.  Cook your Bechamel sauce for about 4 to 5 minutes or until it thickens up.  Keep stirring!!  Once it has thickened remove it from the heat and stir in your salt,  pepper, turkey and bacon.

Here is where I deviate from the recipe.  This recipe is for 80 mini hot browns.  Since we aren't being too fancy at our house on a regular night I usually divide the recipe out onto whole pieces of bread.  It makes about 16 to 20 servings.  I also like to add chopped tomatoes and I don't stir the bacon into the sauce.  After I've added the turkey/cheese mixture to my toasted bread I sprinkle it with the bacon, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.  I then broil it until  the cheese gets a little brown.

If you want to make the mini version the recipe suggests trimming the crust from the bread and cutting each slice into 4 small squares. Broil the bread to toast it.  Then spread the turkey mixture on the untoasted side of the bread, sprinkle with Parmesan and broil again  until the top is a bit brown.

I have served this to all kinds of people and almost everyone enjoys it!  It is a great way to use up leftover turkey if you've made one and a fun dish to serve at a party if you use the mini version.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Amber said...

We made mini hot browns for our Derby Party and they were a HUGE hit!!

Chef in Training said...

YUM! wow this looks great! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me too! Thanks!

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