Kentucky Hot Browns
with Jalapeño Mornay
By Anthony Lamas, Gwen Pratesi
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Roger Pratesi
Servings: 6
The history of the Kentucky Hot Brown is rooted in
late-night revelry at the Brown Hotel in Louisville.
The story goes that following a late night of
drinking and dancing, partygoers at this landmark
hotel were hungry and needed something to soak
up the evening’s alcohol, so the chef whipped up a
meal with what he had: thick slices of bread, roast
turkey, bacon, cheese, cream, and tomatoes. It
was such a hit that it went on the hotel’s menu; to
this day, it’s one of the most popular dishes
served at the Brown Hotel. This version spices it
up with jalapeños in the sauce.
This recipe is excerpted from Southern Heat.
For the Mornay sauce
4 cups heavy cream
1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 jalapeños, seeds and membranes removed, 1 cut
into 1⁄4-inch dice and the other sliced, for garnish
2 cups grated Manchego cheese
For the Hot Browns
Nonstick cooking spray
12 slices French bread or Texas toast, toasted and
crusts removed
1-1⁄2 lb. roasted and sliced turkey breast
12 strips Benton’s bacon or applewood-smoked
bacon, cooked
12 to 18 slices heirloom tomatoes, lightly salted
Grated Manchego cheese, for topping
Position a rack in the center of a convection oven
and heat the oven to 450°F.
Make the sauce
In a medium saucepan, warm the heavy cream with
the nutmeg, white pepper, and salt over medium
heat just until the mixture has bubbles around the
edges of the pan but it is not boiling. Meanwhile,
in another medium saucepan, melt the butter over
medium heat and add the flour, stirring or whisking
constantly to make a blonde roux; cook for 2
minutes to cook out the flour taste. Slowly add the
warm cream to the roux, whisking constantly to
prevent lumps and until the mixture is slightly
thickened. Add the diced jalapeños and cheese
and whisk until the cheese has melted and
everything is blended. Adjust the seasonings. Keep
Assemble the Hot Browns
Each Hot Brown will be assembled and cooked in
an individual greased oval casserole dish.
Assembling one serving at a time, place 2 slices
of toast on the bottom of the dish. Top each with
sliced turkey and then 3⁄4 cup of the Mornay
sauce. Place the bacon slices on top, add the
tomatoes, and top with grated Manchego. Place
the dish in the oven and cook until the sauce is
bubbly and the cheese has melted, about 5