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The Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich

The Hot Brown is a turkey sandwich that was developed at the Brown Hotel, Louisville Kentucky, by Chef Fred Schmidt in the 1920s. To this day the Brown Hotel continues to operate and continues to serve Hot Browns.  It is one of those dishes that combines ingredients that not only work together but which make a classic dish.

This is comfort food, not health food. It is a reminder of another time when foods were heavier and sauces reined supreme. It is easy to prepare once you have a roasted turkey breast to slice and a Mornay Sauce (a type of cheese sauce).

This open faced sandwich is simply sliced roasted turkey on thick toast topped with Mornay Sauce and bacon. The Brown Hotel serves it with Roma Tomatoes on the side.

You can make the Mornay Sauce several days ahead. For example, you could make a Morney Sauce to top some of your vegetable side dishes as part of a turkey dinner. Cover the left over sauce with plastic wrap and refrigerate to use with your leftover turkey breast the next day - as a Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich. If you prefer another type of cheese sauce use that instead.

The hardest part of making this sandwich may be having enough leftovers to actually make it.

Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich


Serves 4

  • Morney Sauce
  • 1 lb sliced roasted turkey breast
  • 4 slices Texas Toast
  • 8 crispy bacon slices (or crispy turkey skin)
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • paprika
  • parsley

  • For the Morney Sauce
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter
  • 2 oz. all purpose flour
  • 16 oz. heavy cream (or milk)
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (grated)
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the  butter and stir in the flour (this is a roux.) Continue to stir and heat until it is a pale golden (blond roux.)

    Slowly add the cream, while whisking to break up any lumps, until sauce comes to a boil.

    Reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes – this is a simple béchamel sauce.

    Add the cheese and whisk the sauce until it melts - season it with salt and pepper. This is a Mornay Sauce.

    If the thick piece of bread (for Texas toast) does not fit in your toaster, brown it in a toaster oven or in a skillet with a little butter.

    Place 3 oz. (or more) of turkey on the toast. Place ½ of a roma tomato on either side of the turkey. Spread Morney Sauce over the turkey and tomatoes. Cross two pieces of bacon across the turkey. Add a little paprika and parsley to finish.

    Although the above recipe is based on that of the Brown Hotel as created in the 1920’s, this recipe cuts back a bit on the amount of turkey and Morney Sauce.

    Today portion sizes might even be smaller, and the béchamel sauce might be made with milk, or even skim milk, rather than heavy cream.

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    Copyright © 2009 - 2019 The Perfect Turkey
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