Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Hot Brown

The Hot Brown Sandwich is an open face turkey sandwich with tomatoes, mornay sauce, and crispy bacon, originally created by Chef Fred Schmidt in the 1920's, to serve late night guests of the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. 

The original recipe calls for one quart of heavy cream and 14 ounces of turkey for 2 sandwiches! While I'm sure it is quite delicious, I'd be lucky to make it through half of one of those.  For my lighter version, which is still plenty rich and satisfying, I used whole milk for the sauce, and about 3 ounces of turkey per sandwich.

When I make these in the summer, I love to use thick slices of garden ripened tomatoes. For now, I used grocery store Roma tomatoes, which I cut in half, lengthwise, drizzled with a little olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then broiled until beginning to brown.  This really helps bring out the tomato flavor.

And finally, I used whole wheat bread rather than the white bread called for in the original recipe.

Hot Browns
(4 sandwiches)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
3 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
12 oz. sliced, roasted turkey breast
4 slices whole wheat toast
4 broiled Roma tomatoes
8 slices crispy bacon

In a 2 quart, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook for a couple minutes, then slowly whisk in the milk. Cook and stir until the sauce starts to boil.  Remove from heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and cheese, blending until smooth.

Place a slice of toast in an oven proof dish. Top with turkey slices, then tomatoes, then spoon over some of the cheese sauce. Continue making all the sandwiches the same way. Place the sandwiches under the broiler until the cheese sauce begins to bubble and brown. Criss-cross 2 slices of bacon over each sandwich and serve immediately.


  1. Everything is delicious with bacon! I have never heard of this sandwich, but it sounds really great!

  2. Oh yum, you had me at bacon! Never heard of this sandwich, but I sure would love to eat it. Sounds like an incredibly delicious recipe.

  3. Yum, this will be delicious. I have made hot browns before, and can't wait to make this version. Love the bacon cross on top!