Since 1875, America’s most prestigious horse race, the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, is steeped with history and ritual, including some great food! Derby parties include Derby Pie and mint juleps, but one Kentucky dish I have always loved is the “Hot Brown,” a perfect regional specialty for a Derby party. The “Brown” refers to the Brown Hotel in Louisville where the recipe was invented. It is an open-faced turkey sandwich (although some people like ham) on toasted bread, and layered with a creamy, cheesy, nutmeg-infused sauce, and topped with tomato and bacon slices. The sandwich is then broiled until the top is golden and bubbly. Yum!!
HOT BROWN SANDWICH
4 slices toasted white bread
8 ounces sliced, roasted turkey
Mornay sauce (recipe follows)
4 strips of cooked bacon
8 wedges of broiled tomato
For each serving, place one slice of bread in the bottom of an oven-proof dish. Top the bread with 1/2 the turkey and 1/2 the Mornay sauce, then place 2 strips of bacon, crossed, on top. Repeat to make another in the same manner. Brown under the broiler until golden. Make toast points by cutting the remaining 2 slices of bread into quarters and garnish the sandwiches, along with the tomato wedges. Serves two.
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced onion
3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup hot milk
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; add minced onion. Cook over low heat until onion is soft. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring until smooth. Gradually add the milk, stirring, until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.