December 13, 2010

A Speedy Hot Brown Becomes Favored

I'm accustomed to having my daughters get surprised by new food dishes, but most of the time I'm not wowed by new dishes. I like trying new things -- thus this blog -- but I usually have an idea how new recipes will turn out. When I talked with my friend Dianne Reed we realized that a feature of Kentucky's famous foods needed to include the Hot Brown recipe, though neither of us were fans. We discussed ways to make it easier and more kid-friendly. Who needs to spend time making the cheesy Mornay sauce when kids will just turn up their noses?

The tasty results surprised me, and this recipe moves up from a Thanksgiving leftovers recipe to my quick weeknight meal recipe file. Keep reading to see our quick makeover. Later this week we'll feature racehorse Perfect Drift, who spends racing season in Kentucky and winters in Kansas City, and a delicious dessert for Chocolate Mint Julep Cookies.

It's probably no surprise that the Hot Brown was first created at the landmark Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. You can read the history of the recipe HERE.

It makes a hearty breakfast but we've made it into a weeknight comfort food. We've switched out the cheese sauce that takes time and opted to use a brown gravy mix. You can add cheddar cheese if your family likes cheese and top with tomatoes and turkey bacon. I didn't have tomatoes nor bacon on hand so I left those off.

A Course for Adventure's
Kentucky Hot Brown
4 slices of Texas Toast
1/2 pound of sliced turkey (leftover turkey works), I used smoked turkey from the deli
1 packet of brown gravy mix
slices of Cheddar cheese (optional)
1 tomato (optional)
4 to 6 slices of turkey bacon

Direction: Mix gravy mix according to instructions. You can also find gravies in bottles that just needed to be heated. Or make your own recipe if you're so inclined.

Toast the bread. I've always wondered why they call the thick bread Texas Toast when it's not toasted yet?

I cut the toast into triangles (tell your children you're trying to make the state's shape, sort of) and placed them into an 8" square pan. I then added the 1/2 pound of turkey on top of the toast ...

followed by the cheese, if using, and pour the hot gravy on top. Bake in 425° until bubbly, about 5 to 10 minutes. Top with turkey bacon and sliced tomatoes -- if your family will eat them. And then you have a quick meal on the table for a state that's known for fast horses, quick tracks and a now a speedy Hot Brown.

Thanks to Dianne Reed for her insight. I referenced the Kentucky Hot Brown recipe in "Derby Entertaining, Traditional Kentucky Recipes," Copyright 2000 by McClanahan Publishing House.

Updated version of the cookbook

Check HERE for a collection of Kentucky-made products, including sweets like Bourbon Balls.

Winter got you feeling blah? Here are some books to make you think of springtime in Kentucky and heart-pumping racing season at Churchill Downs:

Secretariat's owners have a new book that came out this year.

Shop Indie Bookstores

William Nack's classic book was made into a movie:

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The exciting book about Seabiscuit:

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A trifecta of books from friend and New York Times racing writer Joe Drape, who grew up in Kansas City.

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Shop Indie Bookstores

Shop Indie Bookstores

Here's a link for a few picture books on horses for children.

1 comment:

  1. How in the World did you come up with using a Brown Gravy on a "Hot Brown" ... A "Hot Brown" has a White Sauce...Specifically a Mornay sauce...