Old fashioned and delicious!
Hot brown sandwiches have quite a history in Kentucky. Hot brown sandwiches are popular on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Dows and as a lunch special du jour in cafes and sports bars.
The original Louisville Hot Brown sandwich was created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. The original recipe calls for a mornay sauce with toast, turkey, tomato and bacon. A hot brown is baked in an oven, till the cheese sauce becomes lightly browned. Bacon is usually placed on the hot brown after baking.
Outside of Louisville, hot browns are usually made with cheddar cheese sauce or Welsh Rarebit. When a yellow cheese sauce, like Welsh Rarebit, is used to make a hot brown, the sandwich is usually called a Kentucky Hot Brown instead of a Louisville Hot Brown.
Some chefs only use sliced cheddar cheese instead of a cheese sauce to make a hot brown, but that is a lazy approach. Canned cheese whiz sauce is absolutely taboo! Ham can be added to the recipe and I have sold this version a few times as a lunch special du jour.
The hot brown for this recipe blog entry was made with Welsh Rarebit, so it is a Kentucky Hot Brown and not a Louisville Hot Brown. Welsh Rarebit is an old traditional Welsh cheddar cheese sauce that has ale in the list of ingredients. A hot brown that is made with Welsh Rarebit instead of mornay sauce is the most popular variety of the hot brown sandwich.
This recipe makes enough rarebit for 2 to 3 portions!
Heat a 5 pats of unsalted butter in a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add an equal amount of flour while stirring.
Cook and stir the roux, till it just begins to emit a hazelnut aroma and it becomes a very light golden blonde color.
Add 1 cup of English ale, while stirring with a whisk.
When the ale becomes thick and blended with the roux, add 3/4 cup of milk while stirring.
Add 1/4 cup of cream.
Stir the sauce, till it just starts to simmer and thicken to a very thin sauce consistency.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Add 1 1/3 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese, while stirring.
Whisk the sauce, till the cheese melts and becomes part of the sauce.
Add 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard.
Add 1 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce.
Add 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Simmer and reduce the rarebit, till the flavors meld and till the sauce becomes a medium sauce consistency. Be sure to stir occasionally.
Keep the rarebit warm over very low heat or reheat the rarebit to order.
Kentucky Hot Brown Recipe:
Place 2 strips of hickory smoked bacon in a saute pan or a griddle over medium/medium low heat.
Cook the bacon, till it becomes crispy.
Set the crispy smoked bacon strips on a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess grease.
Keep the bacon warm on a stove top.
Toast 2 slices of pullman bread, till they become a golden brown color. (Whole grain bread is nice with this recipe!)
Set one of the slices of toast in a casserole dish.
Cut the other piece of toast in half from corner to corner.
Set the toast halves on each side of the piece of toast in the casserole dish.
Spoon some of the Welsh Rarebit over the toast.
Place 4 ounces of thin sliced roasted turkey breast on the toast.
Spoon a generous amount of the Welsh Rarebit over the turkey and toast.
Place a few tomato slices across the rarebit and turkey.
Bake the hot brown in a 350º oven, till a few brown highlights appear on the rarebit.
Remove the hot brown from the oven and place the casserole dish on a serving plate.
Place the reserved 2 crisp bacon strips on top of the hot brown.
Garnish with a parsley sprig.
Kentucky hot browns are a great chilly weather sandwich entree. The ale gives the Welsh Rarebit a lighter feeling than a standard cheese sauce and it adds a very nice flavor. The mustard adds a nice zesty flavor to the rarebit. Welsh Rarebit was originally served on rustic whole grain bread.
Whole grain bread is a nice choice for a Kentucky hot brown too. Turkey, tomato and bacon do go incredibly well with Welsh Rarebit. One taste of a Kentucky hot brown that is made with a true Welsh Rarebit will show why this is the most popular variation of the original Louisville hot brown sandwich. The flavor is so yummy! ... Shawna