Derby Day is always such fun...whether you are a diehard racetrack aficionado or just like to people watch and peruse the extraordinary hats. I've only been once, but the excitment is something I'll never forget. Now I never miss it...even though it's only on the big screen.
Everyone knows about the mint julep, but how many of you know about Kentucky Hot Browns?
There's a hotel in Louisville called The Brown Hotel. During the 20's it would draw as many as 1,200 guests for its' dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and would want a little something to eat. They were getting bored with ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. Enter The Hot Brown!
Now a Louisville tradition, the Hot Brown has been featured in Southern Living Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, NBC's Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, as well as being included in many cookbooks. So if you want to be part of a Derby tradition, here's the original recipe, right from The Brown Hotel.
The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe
Ingredients: (Makes two hot browns)
2 ounces butter
2 ounces flour
1 quart heavy cream
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
14 ounces sliced roasted turkey breast
2-4 slices of Texas Toast (To make your own, a recipe follows)
4 slices of crisp bacon
2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced in half
Paprika, parsley, tomato for garnish
In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a roux. Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one or two slices of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey.
Place the tomatos on top of turkey and toast. Next, pour the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish.
Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble and is heated through. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.
I can find Texas Toast in my market.
And now something just for the ladies. I collected some photos of fun and fabulous Derby Day hats. Pick out your favorite! Which one would you love to wear?
Last, but not least, The Mother's Day Giveaway: The lucky winner is: Faith from An Edible Mosaic. Congratulations! Please email me your address at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get your cookbook in the mail ASAP!
Hat photo source: http://www.deescrafts.com/hats/