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The Legendary Hot Brown



  • 1 1/2 Tbsp salted butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 C Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices of Texas toast (crusts trimmed)
  • 14 oz thick-sliced roasted turkey breast
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • Paprika
  • Parsley



(Provided by the Kentucky Department of Tourism)

This culinary tradition, which originated at Louisville’s historic Brown Hotel, dates back to the 1920s. Chef Fred Schmidt dreamed up the concoction for a “knife-and-fork sandwich” to satisfy the ravenous guests who came to the hotel’s dinner dances.

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined to form a thick paste or roux. Continue to cook roux for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino-Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven-safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast.Pour half of the sauce over the dish, completely covering it. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.

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