Last week’s Kentucky Derby got me thinking; about food of course. More specifically about a sandwich that was born in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1926. I didn’t think about the significance of the year it was conceive until I starting thinking of the commitment it most have taken to put this open-faced sandwich on the menu.Let’s break it down. First off, when you discover that the Hot Brown is a turkey and bacon sandwich you might question the word “commitment” and how it would apply to making a sandwich. Eighty seven years ago turkey was mainly for holidays and not pre-sliced and sold in every food store in plastic bags. Roasting a whole turkey, only to slice and put on bread, probably seemed a bit absurd; and the same could be said about bread. A traditional Hot Brown also has a cheese sauce ladled over top that brings the whole sandwich together. It is known in French cooking as a Mornay sauce, which starts with one of the mother sauces called béchamel. See where all this is going. We take for granted that something as simple as a turkey sandwich can be something spectacular.So take the commitment laid out for you (recipes below) and see for yourself. This version of the sandwich starts the day before by letting the oven dried tomatoes slow cook over night and if you choose to brine the turkey breast. Making the base to this ultimate hot brown is way simpler than you could imagine. Basically pizza dough, it will take some time to rise and rest but I guarantee that you will make it again and again; even when not making a sandwich. Slow cooked bacon, seasoned just right and left a little fatty, brings a salty element to the dish and balancing the whole out. So if you love sandwiches, or just turkey and bacon for that matter, do yourself a favor and take the Hot Brown commitment challenge. You and friends/family will thank you andmore than likely ask you to make it again.
The Ultimate Hot Brown with Oven Roasted Turkey/Bacon/Tomato and Pimento Cheese Mornay Sauce
Foccacia Recipe-see recipe below or store bought
Roasted Turkey Breast-see recipe below or store bought
Oven Roasted Bacon-see recipe below
Oven Dried Tomatoes-see recipe below
Pimento Cheese Mornay Sauce-see recipe below
1 Cups-Warm Water
1 Tablespoon-Active Dry Yeast
2 Tablespoons-Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons- Olive Oil-plus extra to drizzle
2 Teaspoons-Kosher Salt
2 ½-3 Cups-All Purpose Flour
To Taste-Chef Troy’s Spice MixDirections1. Combine warm water with yeast and sugar.
2. Set timer and let rise for 10 minutes.
3. Warm bowl of stand up mixer/mixing bowl with warm water, dump out.
4. Add yeast water to bowl and add oil, salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
5. Add bowl to stand up mixer and attach dough hook.
6. Mix on low speed until a sticky ball of dough is formed, add remaining flour if necessary.
7. Place dough in lightly oiled sheet pan, spread out to about an inch thick cover, let rise for one hour.
8. Uncover dough, dimple with finger tips, cover and let rise for 15 minutes.
9. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
10. Drizzle dough with a little olive oil, season with Spice Mix.
11. Place in oven, bake for 8 minutes, rotate and cook another 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.Roasted Turkey
4-6 Pound-Boneless/Skinless Turkey Breast
To Rub/Drizzle-Olive Oil
To Taste-Chef Troy’s Back RubDirections1. Leave turkey breast out at room temp for 30 minutes before roasting.
2. Pat turkey completely dry, rub lightly with oil and season with rub, generously all over to coat.
3. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and an iron skillet over medium heat.
4. Drizzle a little oil in skillet, 2-3 tablespoons, and place in turkey breast (on side where skin was)
5. Cook until golden, 3-5 minutes, flip and repeat.
6. Place skillet in oven and roast, flipping every 10 to 15 minutes.
7. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature is 150 degrees.
8. Remove from oven, loosely cover with foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes.
9. Internal temperature should reach 160/165 (the safe zone) while resting.
10. Slice thin when ready to assemble sandwich.Oven Roasted Bacon
1 Pound-Thick Sliced Bacon
To Taste-Chef Troy’s Back Rub
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.Directions1. Fit a sheet tray with a wire rack.
2. Season bacon with Back Rub and place on sheet tray.
3. Place in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, (flipping once or twice); or to desired doneness.Oven Dried Tomatoes
8-10 Roma Tomatoes-halved
To Drizzle-Olive Oil
To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
A Few Sprigs-fresh thymeDirections1. Do these overnight or when oven is not needed.
2. Place halved tomatoes in bowl, drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
3. Season with salt/pepper and let stand for one hour; toss occasionally.
4. Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
5. Place on a sheet tray, top with thyme sprigs and place in oven for 7-8 hours.
6. Remove and let stand at room temp until ready to use, or place in a covered container for up to 3 days in fridge.Pimento Cheese Mornay
3 Tablespoons-Unsalted Butter
3 Tablespoons-All Purpose Flour
2 Cups-Half and Half-warmed
¼ Teaspoon-White Pepper
1 ½ Cup-Sharp Cheddar Cheese-grated
¼ Cup-Pimentos-drained, rough choppedDirections1. Melt butter over medium heat in a sauce pan.
2. Add flour, whisk to incorporate and add cream.
3. Season with salt/pepper and whisk to combine.
4. Raise heat slightly and cook until sauce begins to thicken.
5. Add cheese/pimentos; stir until cheese has melted into sauce.
6. Keep warm over very low heat, stirring frequently, until ready to use. Assemble1. Cut bread into squares, slice bread removing top from bottom.
2. Brush with olive oil and grill/toast until inside is slightly crispy.
3. Place bread in individual plates, top with sliced turkey and a couple of pieces of bacon.
4. Ladle some of the cheese sauce on top, garnish with tomatoes and serve.