Hot Browns and Hats (plus a giveaway winner!)

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.

But if you can't here's how to make your own: start with some good bread; smash a couple cloves of garlic and mix them with some butter. Spread on the bread, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then toast it.

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 bsmithw@gmail.com so I can get your cookbook in the mail ASAP!

Hat photo source: http://www.deescrafts.com/hats/


  1. Hi Barbara,

    What a great post and that recipe sounds great.
    Congratulations to Faith.
    The hats are all really pretty but I think the hat I would wear would be
    # 16.
    I hope that you are having a great week

  2. I've always wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby. I've been to the track but never to the derby.

    I would so wear hat #16! I love hats but seems we never have enough occasions to wear them.

    Great recipe, too!

  3. Great Derby day post Barbara. It's my topic too this week since I love those horses (and the Derby drinks!) Hot browns are one of my favorites... it was the first dish I made for friends in my new apartment... raging success I may add! Everyone will love adding it to their heavy recipe rotation. Love the hats!!!

  4. Hot browns sound like just the thing to fuel up with after a night of dancing. Hey, it even sounds like a tasty quick dinner, I'm sold! Uh, I don't think I have the chutzpah to carry off any of those hats, I'm kinda fashion challenged really, but they all look fabulous :)

    And congratulations Faith!

  5. what a cool recipe - I have never seen this before...

  6. Hey Barbara, that hot brown looks so decadent. And I would love to dress up and go to the derby-that sounds so fun.
    Congratulations to Faith too! I wanted that book (smile)...

  7. This sounds like an amazing sandwich! I would celebrate Derby Day if it meant I could eat one of these babies.

    Congrats to Faith!

  8. Loved this article. Read every word. I would choose hat #12 for Derby Day. That sandwich would be great with leftover turkey. I'll have to remember it.

  9. a collection of unbeatable events and fun,
    gorgeous post!
    Happy Wednesday!

  10. I'm not a hat person myself, but some of those bonnets are over the top and would be fun to parade around in.

    Considering how much I love a good sandwich, these hot browns have moved to the top of my list.

  11. Bobby Flay was in a hot brown throwdown on his show!
    Hat number 1 was my favorite..two holes in the top and a mule could wear it! HeeHeeHee...

  12. What's funny is I hate bourbon, but love a mint julep, and I'm not much on turkey, but I love a hot brown! I think it's all the Derby flavor in there...

    Hats. I'd have to buy #1, #13 and #9, and then see what dress(es) I could find to coordinate...

    What a fun post!

  13. Beautiful, sensual & poetic, I love your kind of mix a lot!

    Thank you for nice comment on my blog!

    Agneta, the swedish one ;)

  14. I have always wanted to try a hot brown ever since I saw Bobby Flay's Hot Brown Throwdown! Yours looks as good as theirs! Yum I would love to eat it while I was wear hat #2. Yes that's the one! :)

  15. I've never heard of this dish before. It looks like it would be absolutely yummy. Now let's see, which hat shall I hide behind while I'm stuffing my face.... Hmmm... I think number 15, it will give me the air of innocence.
    *kisses* HH

  16. Congratulations Faith.
    Fabulous sandwich and I bet it tastes best while wearing hat #4.

  17. Congratulations to Faith!!!!Love all the hats, but #4 is my favorite :)

  18. Interesting Derby Day and nice food! Hats, .....not for me, LOL!

  19. I could certainly wake up to that. Wonderful derby post. Well-written and informative. Cheers!

  20. Carolyn: I confess I own three hats along this line. One is very similar to #15, but much more conservative. It's my favorite.

    Julie: I agree. I wish we wore them more often!

    Deana: Can't wait to see it. Your posts are fantastic!

    Shaz: It's a pretty hefty meal all right!

    Doggybloggy: It's a hit with the men in my family.

    Stella: It's an exciting event to watch...and the hats are such fun!

    Joanne: That dish I made could feed 4 people!

    All our fingers: That's what I used...I made a breast of turkey the night before!

    Jingle: Thank you!

    Cathy: I'd love to wear more hats, but nobody seems to anymore.

    BD: And just where do you think I got the idea???

    Chan: I have one similar to #4, but more of a tweed and my favorite is #15...without all the chiffon.

    Agneta: So pleased you like my blog. The feeling is mutual!

    Lyndsey: Hard to decide, isn't it?

    HH: I have one much like it!

    Mimi: Hat #4 is very elegant and sophisticated!

    Erica: It seems to be everyone's favorite.

    Pete: You can be forgiven!

    Lazaro: It's hearty dish, perfect for a group.

  21. I've never had a hot brown or been to a derby. I'm so curious!

  22. Goodness, that is beautiful collection of hats you have. And the dish look really delicious too.

  23. Thanks for sharing this Barbara! I love hearing about culinary traditions. As for the hat, I'd go for #9, but they're all pretty dashing!

  24. #6! i love the white and blue together. what fun hats.

    i never knew anything about hotbrowns until i saw bobby flay make them. they look great, i love this recipe, pure comfort!

  25. How fun that you've experienced the KY derby! This sounds delicious - I love recipes straight from the source. As for the hats, numbers 9 and 13 are calling my name!

  26. mmm, i love me a hot brown! it's yet another example of deluxe comfort food.
    as for the hats, i pick #9 since it's so very subtle and charming like me. :)

  27. I've heard of the hot brown, but I've never tried one. I'd love to attend the Derby some day. And, I think I'd wear hat #15!

  28. Congrats to Faith! My fave hat is number 12. I love the colors, but no way I could get away with a hat like those :) That is one decadent and delicious looking sandwich!

  29. Oh, you're right I've heard of mint juleps but not of the hot brown but I can't wait to try this. It just looks amazing. We have lots of horse racing in Britain, yet I've never been to one. Ooh, all those lovely hats; I must admit number 5 is a favourite because red and black are my colours.

  30. Blonde Duck: Well make yourself a hot brown and turn on the TV Sat. and you'll be in heaven!

    Elra: The hats are fun, aren't they?

    Lucie: Hard to choose, but #9 is a lovely hat...not too much going on.

    Teresa: I knew what Hot Browns were, but Bobby Flay gave me the idea for the post!

    Laura: I like #9 too!

    Grace: Your pick shows you to be elegant and understated!

    Lisa: You can get close to the excitment by watching it on TV. Such fun.

    Dishes Done: EVERYONE can get away with hats like this on Derby Day!

    Vanessa: Nobody wears hats like the British. I would buy all my hats there (and have bought a lot there) if I could.

  31. My lord what a great dish! I always love Derby time... well the mint Juleps anyway. As for the hats I'll pass if that is ok with you.

  32. I had never even heard of a Hot Brown until now - let alone know it was legendary. Love to learn new things... it looks good!

  33. I didn't know about this dish either, how cool! I'll need to make this for my family! Love the hats!

  34. I've never had a Hot Brown but it sure sounds good! Love the hats

  35. The hot brown sure looks delicious! Definitely finger licking good! I pick hat #9! ;)

  36. Barbara, I too love Derby Day and always watch on the big screen too.

    I haven't had a good Hot Brown since I first tasted them at the Nineteenth Hole at the March Island Country Club years ago. I'll be giving yours a try.

    When I worked for Mrs. Lauder I wore hats a lot, probably because she did. I haven't owned a hat other than a straw beach hat in years. I'd be tempted to give #5 a try.

  37. Hello Barbara,
    I have not heard of Hot Browns before, but I will add it to my Derby folder for entertaining inspiration!! The hats are all fun, I think I would choose #9!? I guess it depends on my dress, but I would most likely plan my outfit around that lovely hat.
    Enjoy your day in lovely Florida

  38. Bryan: Yep, OK to pass on hats!

    Valerie: Fattening, but good!

    Natasha: Hats are such fun..wish we more them more often.

    Kathleen: I was surprised how many people had not heard of Hot Browns.

    Petite Nyonya: Good choice!

    Sam: I have three but only wear them perhaps three times a year. :(

    Bunny: #9 is very popular!

  39. First of all, congratulations to the winner! What a lucky girl! And then the menu, gosh, that looks incredibly delish. Can't wait to try this out soon. You have a great day, Barbara!
    Blessings, Kristy

  40. cONGRATS FAITH!!!!

    And this is a lovely post Barbara, very , and love those lovely hats:-).

  41. What an amazing sounding breakfast dish it sounds very indulgent and perfect for a Sunday breakfast or special occasion. Love the hats too-as a hat addict I must say that I love them all! And congratulations to Faith who is so very lovely! :D

  42. You are my kind of girl--you like football AND the Derby! My great grandfather raised horses, and I like to think that horses are in my blood. Every year, hubs and I drink a julep, bet on the horses, and hoot and holler like maniacs. Good fun!

  43. I loved the hats and the browns :-). Your hat collage is perfect and very timely for Derby day. When I was a child we'd have Hot Browns the day after Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy the race. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  44. This is the first I've heard of hot browns, too! And it looks delicious. Love the hats - number 13 is my favorite!

  45. I do indeed know about the Hot Brown--I'm married to a Kentucky boy after all! They're kind of over the top but yes, perfect for celebrating Derby Day. Love all the hats but #8 is my fave.

  46. Barbara

    This is a fun post! It reminded me of sundays at the polo club in Dallas; there is so much excitement and women are so happy to be seen and admired!
    That dish is so rich but I bet wonderful!

  47. The hot brown looks delicious I love this part of derby history! and I really enjoy the races we have a long horse tradition in my family and look forward to the derby!

    Nice Blog!

  48. What fun - the food and the hats.

    I take number 8. Love the colors.

    It might be fun to wear hats once a month. I would love to have a collection like above. I would probably look silly in them but it would be grand.

  49. Fun hats. #16 because I'd feel like Audrey Hepburn. I'd never heard of this dish before. Sounds decedent and delicious.

  50. I've never heard of a hot brown before but it looks delicious!

    I've never been a hat-wearer myself - I seem to drown in them, but if it did, it would be #16.

    I don't even know the horses racing yet - I'd better start learning!

  51. #9 for me..what a great recipe, i have always wanted to try..glad you had fun, congrats to the winner


  52. That comforting dish sounds and looks scrumptious! I love the hats!



  53. Hi Barbara,
    Another dish I had never come across before but will be sure to try, it looks delish!
    It's got to be hat #, so stylish with that splash of colour against the black, so very me!
    BTW You guessed the correct OOO, it was the muffin.

  54. Hi Barbara! I am loving hat 4, very simple yet stylish. I've never heard of a hot brown but it looks good!

  55. Barbara your posts are always such a treat. Your 'Hot Brown' recipe is incredible. I cannot wait to try it on my family when they arrive in June! If I were at the Derby tomorrow, I think I"d opt for #11, & bet on a gray horse. They say that gray horses typically win on a rainy day! Thank you for asking about Scotland. Feeling overwhelmed today but we are fast & furiously trying to get the house ready to put on the market once my daughter graduates in June. Once we sell, pack, we plan to be on the next adventure. That is if I live through it all. Hope you are doing well and you have a great weekend ahead! Love this post Barbara. xxoo deb

  56. I have never heard of a Hot Brown before but it most certainly looks delicious!

    I would have to choose one of the black and white hats just because they remind me of "My Fair Lady" and that was my FAVOURITE movie when I was a kid.

  57. Love this~ from the Hot Brown to the Hats... Hat #12 for me please!

  58. Barbara ... as usual you have my mouth watering! The Hot Brown will be attempted this weekend with my two sons -- let you know how it goes! I've never been to the Derby, but that would be something for the future. I'm assuming if you love the hats, you must love Ladies Day at Royal Ascot in England... crazy, er, lovely hats!

  59. OMG Barbara I love this recipe and Im in love of your large dish, look georgeous! Love your hats,is hard choose one, finally I choose N° 14 and think is nice tome, when I was younger (je,je) I was a litle hippie I used sime hats with flowers of corse! huggs barbara

  60. My Derby hat is off to your brown hats-awesome! Those are a perfect dish for the watching of the Kentucky Derby race.

    I think my favorite hat would be #16 :-)

  61. I love hat #10. I think it would look très très chic on me :) Wonderful recipe, dear Barbara!

  62. great posts and so much fun to learn a recipe no hat for me I would look funny he he

  63. I always wanted to wear one of those fancy hats...what fun..happy weekend. xoxo

  64. In Australia, we have something similar to derby day, it's called the Melbourne Cup - where the whole nation is just at a standstill. It's fantastic! Also, thanks for sharing the recipe for the Hot Brown - I've honestly never heard of it before but sounds delicious!

  65. Oh my goodness, this looks like pure heaven! Thank you for introducing me to this Derby tradition!

    The hats are awesome! :-) I'm a big fan of number 4 and number 12! :-)

  66. I feel terribly boring here, but my choice would be 14 or 15. But, I make my own "texas toast"!



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