Food & Drink

Recipe: The Legendary Hot Brown

Created by the chef of Louisville’s Brown Hotel to sate the cravings of late-night partiers, this open-face turkey and bacon sandwich in Mornay sauce became an instant hit.

Executive Editor Katie Van Luchene got the details on her recent trip to Louisville and brought back the recipe.

The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe

Serves 2

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

Created by a resourceful chef in the 1920s to serve hungry guests as a late-night bite, this sandwich is a tasty Louisville tradition—especially at its namesake, the Brown Hotel.

To make the Mornay sauce:

In a two-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, salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the sandwiches:

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 oz. 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.