Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches



Revolutionary…Palace Malice…Normandy Invasion…Vyjack…Lines of Battle…Overanalyze…I’d love to know the stories behind the naming of these horses– some of the contenders that will compete at this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Kentucky Derby celebrations are fun for everybody—sports lovers or not. First, this day is an excuse to eat a very good sandwich and wear a terrific hat. Second, you can watch the coverage all day if you want. Or, if you are a sports minimalist, just start with mint juleps and Benedictine dip at cocktail time before the race. At about 6:15 turn up the TV and get ready to watch the exciting two-minute (or so) Derby and toast the winner. Watch a bit of post-race coverage and the presentation of the 18 carat gold trophy and then sit down and enjoy the aforementioned Kentucky Hot Brown This complex and very satisfying open-face sandwich was created in the 1920s by Chef Fred Schmidt of the Brown Hotel in Louisville as a late-night snack for guests at the hotel’s famed nightly dinner dance.  The transition to Derby Day favorite is a happy evolution for this creation.  My version is a bit non-traditional since I have added scallions and parsley to the Mornay sauce, but I like the zip and color that they add to the dish.   I serve these with Spinach Salad with Lime Soy Vinaigrette and for dessert—what else but Winner’s Circle Pie!

Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches

Serves 4


1 recipe of Herbed Mornay Sauce (below)
1 pound sliced roasted turkey breast
4 slices of bread, lightly toasted
8 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp
8 tomato slices
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Extra sliced green onions and parsley for garnish



Preheat the broiler. On a baking sheet, place the four slices of lightly toasted bread. Top each piece of bread with 4 ounces of turkey and two tomato slices. Top with a generous spoonful of the Herbed Mornay Sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned. Place one sandwich on each plate and top with two slices of bacon and a sprinkle of green onions and parsley.


Herbed Mornay Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

3 tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups cream
4 ounces shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
4 ounces fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and parsley and cook, stirring, until the green onion has softened. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.


Raise the heat slightly, add the cream and cook until the cream begins to simmer and the sauce has slightly thickened. Lower the heat back to medium, add the cheese and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese has melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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3 Responses to Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches

  1. Jo Anne says:

    This has me drooling, Susan! And the accompaniments are wonderful!

  2. David Jablonski says:

    Mrs. Gall- I LOVE this blog. Can you by any chance talk to me today at the tournament as I am interested in learning how to cook, and would love if I could come over and you and John can teach me a thing or two. By the way, love the blog! Thanks.
    David Jablonski Jr.

  3. Susan says:

    David–I would be happy to teach you to cook–but only if you bring Justin along! Just let me know when you’d like your first lesson.

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