When we were on our recent trip to Kentucky we visited the Brown Hotel for a Hot Brown, a signature of the hotel that has become a state-wide classic. Every restaurant in the state has their own take on the tradition, and it varies from city to city. Some places use country ham instead of bacon. Some use a sharp cheddar in place of Romano cheese in the mornay sauce.
I decided to make it more family friendly by doing my version as a casserole. The mixture of flavors you get from the bacon and the mornay sauce mix well with the turkey and the crunch from the toast. The key, oddly enough is the acidity from the roasted tomato that cuts through the fat of the cheese to really complete this dish. You all gotta try this one! Fat Boy Heaven doesn't get any better than this.
Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole
- 3 cups (1/2-inch cubes) toasted bread
- 3 cups diced cooked boneless turkey breast
- 1 cup butter
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 cups Parmesan/Romano blend shredded cheese
- 1 cup chopped cooked bacon
- 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup Parmesan/Romano blend shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9x12-inch casserole dish. Place bread cubes in bottom of the dish. Arrange turkey on top. Set aside and make the sauce.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Increase heat to medium, then add flour and stir to make a smooth roux. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring, until flour barely begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat, then slowly whisk in half-and-half. Next, slowly whisk in heavy cream. Finally, whisk in milk. Return to heat and continue to cook, stirring, until mixture bubbles, about 8 minutes.
- Add cheeses, remove from heat and stir until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over bread and turkey in dish. Sprinkle with bacon and tomato, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake until bubbly, about 35 minutes. Broil for 5-7 minutes until cheese browns.